Is Baby keem related to Kendrick?
After its release was teased earlier this week, we now have the collaboration between Baby Keem and his cousin, Kendrick Lamar, titled 'Family Ties'. abc.net.auKendrick Lamar hops on 'Family Ties' with his cousin Baby Keem
30 August, 2021 - 12:40am
Week in and week out, there are plenty of brand new rap songs, no matter the time of year. It can be really difficult to stay aware of what's out and also what's hot, so XXL decided to make things much easier for you. Instead of sorting out nearly everything that released this week, we've narrowed it down to strictly the best of the week, saving you plenty of time.
Expect to see selections from the established stars, the next wave of new talent, the up-and-comers and everyone else in between. If your song is fire enough to beat the competition, it'll take one of the weekly spots. You can trust us on this one; follow our lead and you'll never get laughed off of the aux cord again. Your friends will finally trust you with playlists; it'll be wonderful. In addition to that, you can check back every week for the latest and greatest tracks. You'll always have somewhere to turn to each week, being sure to find some songs you'll dig.
Enjoy this week's list, featuring new songs from Westside Gunn ("Margiela Split Toes" featuring Mach-Hommy), Lil Tecca ("Did That"), Chief Keef ("Harley Quinn" with Mike WiLL Made-It) and more. See you next week.
30 August, 2021 - 12:40am
The timing of the statement caused many to speculate that Kendrick Lamar may be soon to announce his follow-up to 2017’s DAMN. That was the deep-dive topic of the latest episode of Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast, which also included a detailed timeline of TDE’s rise to become the best record label of the 2010s (embedded below as video and audio):
This week, Kendrick did give fans new music and his first verse of 2021—and first new song since before the pandemic. The moment came as a feature, care of Baby Keem’s “family ties” video single. Keem, who is also Kendrick Lamar’s cousin, has musical history with at least three-fourths of Black Hippy. The Carson, California native appeared on 2018’s Black Panther Soundtrack, which Kendrick and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffin executive produced and curated. As a producer and songwriter, he also worked on Jay Rock’s Redemption and ScHoolboy Q‘s CrasH Talk. In late 2019, Dave Free, a longtime TDE executive, producer, and DJ, had reportedly left the company to launch his own ventures and manage Baby Keem. Then, in March 2020, Kenny, Dave, and Keem each posted pgLang logos on socials. Reports later revealed that Dave Free and Kendrick Lamar had co-founded the mysterious creative agency. Dave, who had known K-Dot since high school, was the one responsible for first playing the artist’s music for Top Dawg during the mid-2000s. That event led to a deal and Hip-Hop history.
Nearly a year and a half later, Baby Keem is becoming pgLang’s breakout star. His music is distributed through Sony Records. Keem is among the guests Kanye West has included during his iterations of Donda. The rapper’s “ORANGE SODA” is certified platinum. For this weekend’s newest drop, a single titled “family ties,” the artwork shows a young Keem (now 20) and a young Kendrick in a group photo, possibly of family. All other faces are obscured by a line across the eyes—the same as 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city cover. This marks the first collaboration the two cousins formally released to the public.
In one of his very few appearances in the last two years, Kendrick experiments as always. He ends a series of cadences with a Hulk Hogan-inspired “brother,” including some southern twang to boot. Returning to jewelry/time-piece imagery, Lamar raps, “The big shot, wrist on cryotherapy / Soon as I press that button / Ni**a better get right like the ambulance comin’ / Us two on a light, Keem been through nothin’ / Dave Free got at least one B in the oven.” He shouts out his pgLang cohorts, while brandishing a flag in the music video. He suggests Dave may have a child on the way (or at least that Baby Keem is cooking up something), while—later in the song—possibly revealing that he became a father while on break: “Two phones, but I only bring one in this b*tch / One daughter, but they all my sons in this b*tch.”
Kendrick teases more music while declaring war on Hip-Hop’s greatest MCs, with a “Control”-like confidence, eight Augusts later. While on “Control,” Kendrick took aim at peers like Drake, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean and Big K.R.I.T., he likened himself to greats like JAY-Z, Eminem, Nas and Andre 3000 (presumably all part of his top 5). On “family ties,” it appears Kendrick believes he has vaulted past them and assumed the pole position. In addition to his allusion to being the G.O.A.T., he repeats that he’s “Smokin’ on top fives.” He also likens himself to Hip-Hop’s savior, as he raps: “Go figure, never caught cases, brother / Face it, brother, gracious brother / New flows comin’, be patient, brother / Show my ass and take y’all to class / I can multitask like Megan, brother / 2021, I ain’t takin’ no prisoner / Last year, y’all f*cked up all the listener / Who went platinum? I call that a visitor / Who the f*ck backin’ ’em? All been falsified / The facts mean this a vaccine, and the game need me to survive / The Elohim, the rebirth / Before you get to the Father, you gotta holla at me first, b*tch.”
The credits to the video say “starring Oklama,” the same word Kendrick used for the website in conjunction with last week’s announcement. However, after the credits, a closing sequence shows Kendrick driving a stretch SUV limo. He lowers his bandana to spit and buck shots at the camera. It may be another nod to Tupac Shakur (who famously spit at lenses) and/or it can be a visual metaphor for the content of the lyricism. That same sequence was reversed on Baby Keem’s IG page, creating some new symbolism to Kendrick Lamar driving his movement as Keem lives up to his lyrics: “I’m f*ckin’ the world, I unzip my pants.” Kendrick Lamar and his team are no stranger to playing with direction and meaning. Look no further than DAMN.
According to Rap Genius, “family ties” marks Baby Keem’s first single for upcoming album, The Melodic Blue.
#BonusBeat: Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar’s “family ties” currently appears on the official AFH playlist:
27 August, 2021 - 06:50am
Written By Cyrus Langhorne
Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar is really back-back. The hip-hop star and elusive Top Dawg Entertainment member has come through with his cousin Baby Keem in their new "family ties" music video.
The must-see visual clocks in at over four minutes in length and has plenty of cinematic galore. Along with the mind-blowing video’s elements, the song itself is just his first official collaboration with Keem.
‘family ties’ is Lamar’s first feature since 2018, and sees Keem and Lamar come together for the first time, notably making it the second-ever artist collaboration in Keem’s public musical output, and his first with Lamar. ‘family ties’ is a high-powered proclamation exploring the meaning of legacy and success, an insight into the relationships and experiences that have both defined and propelled Keem in his journey. The ‘family ties’ video features Keem, Kendrick and Normani and is directed by Dave Free.
Earlier in the week, Keem and K. Dot released the video’s mind-blowing trailer.
The visual itself is an absolute must-watch even at just under 20 seconds in length. While fans still had to wait just over 24 hours before hearing and seeing the new visual, the trailer gave an idea of how it sounded – just in reverse.
Earlier in the week, Keem went to his Instagram page with just his third active post. The pic is a super throwback shot of himself as a kid and a teenage-looking Lamar. Keem’s teaser could easily be the single’s artwork.
“family ties Thursday // 9pm PST”
A few days ago, Top Dawg Entertainment responded to Lamar publicly announcing his final album with his label. The hip-hop powerhouse’s key bosses Anthony ‘Top Dawg’ Tiffith and president Punch stepped forward to address Kendrick’s huge reveal.
Instead of catching feelings, Top Dawg saluted Lamar on gearing up to release his last official studio effort under his watch. He also reminded the world Lamar is a living greatest of all time musician.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege for TDE to bless the world with the GOAT!”
Punch issued a full statement on the concept of growth and connected it to Lamar preparing for the next phase in his life. He also reflected on the audio gems K. Dot’s released through TDE.
“Kendrick Lamar EP, Kendrick Lamar OD, Section 80, GKMC, TPAB, Untitlted Unmastered, DAMN, Black Panther Soundtrack… what a run! This is a celebration.”
Hours prior, Lamar returned from the hip-hop shadows to announce his next studio offering will be his last with the label he’s spent his entire music career with.
Lamar hit up his Instagram page with everything completely wiped out except a single post showing a folder titled ‘nu thoughts.’ Inside the post urged followers to visit oklama.com where he revealed his first public words in months.
“I spend most of my days with fleeting thoughts. Writing. Listening. And collecting old Beach cruisers. The morning rides keep me on a hill of silence. I go months without a phone. Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family. While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next.”
While he confirmed preparing for the TDE departure, Lamar also encouraged creators to continue seeking comfort from Top Dawg and the ability to have their talent reach the masses at the star-studded record label.
“As I produce my final TDE album, I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years. The Struggles. The Success. And most importantly, the Brotherhood. May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. As I continue to pursue my life’s calling. There’s beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I’ve prayed for you all. See you soon enough. -oklama”
VP of Digital Content. Catch me clocking in steady work on Call of Duty when not covering everything hip-hop 24/7. Rap goats? Action Bronson and Curren$y.
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