Song of the Day #2,748: ‘King Kunta’ – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick LamarI know it’s the first day of February, but I’m still looking back at 2015. I ran down my own favorite songs of last year, so now I’ll give the critics their say.

Each year, the Village Voice asks nearly 500 music critics to list their ten favorite albums and singles and all of that data is crunched to arrive at a consensus master list, known as the Pazz & Jop poll.

I’ve covered the top vote-getters for a few years now, and for the next two weeks I’ll once again feature the singles that topped the poll.

Sitting at #1 is Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling,’ proof that most critics have their heads up their asses. Apart from the gif-worthy video and the fact that the song became a huge hit out of nowhere, ‘Hotline Bling’ is nothing to write home about, musically.

It seems that the recent critical obsession with hip-hop has really locked in. Half of this year’s Pazz & Jop top ten are hip-hop songs, and five of the last six records tot op the album list were by rap artists.

This was the year of Kendrick Lamar, whose album To Pimp a Butterfly topped seemingly every critics list in the country, and predictably takes the top spot on this combined poll. His single ‘King Kunta’ takes the #2 spot on the singles list.

I don’t know if that many critics can be wrong, and admittedly I haven’t heard the full album, but I just haven’t been all that impressed with the Kendrick Lamar songs I’ve heard. ‘King Kunta’ is catchy, sure, but is it revelatory? No way. Maybe it’s not representative of the rest of the album, which supposedly has a lot to say about race relations in modern America.

‘King Kunta,’ like so many rap songs, is simply about who’s the best rapper. Boring!

[Intro]
I got a bone to pick
I don’t want you monkey-mouth motherfuckers sittin’ in my throne again
(Ay, ay, what’s happenin’? K-Dot back in the hood, nigga!)
I’m mad (he mad!), but I ain’t stressin’
True friends, one question

[Hook]
Bitch, where you when I was walkin’?
Now I run the game got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta
Everybody wanna cut the legs off him, Kunta
Black man taking no losses, oh yeah
Bitch, where you when I was walkin’?
Now I run the game, got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta
Everybody wanna cut the legs off him
When you got the yams… (What’s the yams?)

[Verse 1]
The yam is the power that be
You can smell it when I’m walking down the street
(Oh yes we can, oh yes we can)
I can dig rappin’
But a rapper with a ghost writer? What the fuck happened?
(Oh no!)
I swore I wouldn’t tell
But most of y’all sharing bars
Like you got the bottom bunk in a two-man cell
(A two-man cell?)
Somethin’s in the water
And if I gotta brown nose for some gold
Then I’d rather be a bum than a motherfuckin’ baller

[Hook]
Bitch, where you when I was walkin’?
Now I run the game got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta
Everybody wanna cut the legs off him, Kunta
Black man taking no losses, oh yeah
Bitch, where you when I was walkin’?
Now I run the game, got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta
Everybody wanna cut the legs off him
When you got the yams… (What’s the yams?)

[Verse 2]
The yam brought it out of Richard Pryor
Manipulated Bill Clinton with desires
24/7, 365 days times two, I was contemplatin’ gettin’ on stage
Just to go back to the hood, see my enemy and say…

[Hook]
Bitch, where you when I was walkin’?
Now I run the game got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta
Everybody wanna cut the legs off him, Kunta
Black man taking no losses, oh yeah
Bitch, where you when I was walkin’?
Now I run the game, got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta
Everybody wanna cut the legs off him

[Verse 3]
(You goat-mouth mammyfucker)
I was gonna kill a couple rappers but they did it to themselves
Everybody’s suicidal, they ain’t even need my help
This shit is elementary, I’ll probably go to jail
If I shoot at your identity and bounce to the left
Stuck a flag in my city, everybody’s screamin’ “Compton!”
I should probably run for Mayor when I’m done, to be honest
And I put that on my Mama and my baby boo too
Twenty million walkin’ out the court buildin’, woo woo!
Ah yeah, fuck the judge, I made it past 25 and there I was
A little nappy-headed nigga with the world behind him
Life ain’t shit but a fat vagina
Screamin’ “Annie, are you okay? Annie, are you okay?”
Limo tinted with the gold plates
Straight from the bottom, this the belly of the beast
From a peasant to a prince to a motherfuckin’ king

[Hook 2]
Bitch where was you when I was-
*POP*
(By the time you hear the next pop, the funk shall be within you)
*POP*
Now I run the game got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta
Everybody wanna cut the legs off him, (King) Kunta
Black man taking no losses, oh yeah
Bitch where was you when I was walkin’
Now I run the game, got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta
Everybody wanna cut the legs off him

[Outro]
(Funk, funk, funk, funk, funk, funk)
We want the funk
We want the funk
(Now if I give you the funk, you gon’ take it)
We want the funk
(Now if I give you the funk, you gon’ take it)
We want the funk
(Now if I give you the funk, you gon’ take it)
We want the funk
(Do you want the funk?)
We want the funk
(Do you want the funk?)
We want the funk
(Now if I give you the funk, you gon’ take it)
We want the funk

[Poem]
I remember you was conflicted, misusing your influence

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,748: ‘King Kunta’ – Kendrick Lamar

  1. Dana says:

    I don’t really get all the accolades for Lamar either, and this song, on first listen, doesn’t impress all that much.

    And though I wouldn’t put “Hot Line Bling” on my best of list, I do get its addictive quality and that it became a bit of a cultural phenomenon due to the video, parodies on late night tv, etc.

  2. Maddie says:

    I’ve actually become a big fan of this song, and it’s more about how nobody paid any attention to Lamar until he found some success in his music. Anyway, having heard the rest of the album, this and a couple other songs make the cut for ones I would want to hear a second time. I need to listen to the lyrics more closely on all of them, though.

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