Ranking Kendrick Lamar’s best albums and best tracks is something hip-hop fans love to debate, and the Compton king has even chimed in with his own opinions from time to time. After grading his discography earlier this year, K. Dot has now chosen the track with his best verses ever, and it may surprise you.
In a rare in-depth interview with i-D, Kendrick was asked if he’s written the perfect rhyme yet. He didn’t respond with a firm “yes” or “no,” but instead revealed that the starkly confessional DAMN. track “FEAR.” is his greatest lyrical accomplishment.
“It’s completely honest,” he explained. “The first verse is everything that I feared from the time that I was seven years old. The second verse I was 17, in the third it’s everything I feared when I was 27. These verses are completely honest.”
Not everything Kendrick writes is great, though, and he admits that tight-knit studio support is essential for keeping his lyrical prowess in check.
“Everything you write is not dope. Even if you're a great writer, a bunch of the stuff you write is wack. But most people don't have somebody around to be like, ‘That's wack,’” he said. “I've been in that studio writing terrible verses, writing terrible hooks, with homeboys and friends and people that you trust telling you, ‘That's garbage.’ I grew thick skin and got back in there and did it all over again. And then you eventually grow an ability to know when something is too far. I learnt how to challenge myself to take it to the next level.”
And that, right there, is what makes him possibly the greatest rapper alive.