In case you haven’t been following experimental electronic/hip hop circles much lately, Flying Lotus has been operating on different level for a while now (as seen here, here, and here). What began as some interesting instrumental albums has blossomed into full on jazz, prog, soul, and a fuller realization of whatever Thom Yorke’s been attempting to turn Radiohead into since the dawn of the millenium (see: his feature on Lotus’ last album).
Kendrick, meanwhile, has been dominating hip hop for the past few years (although there is some disagreement on this in Antiquiet Offices, I’m going with it) since he released the insanely excellent Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, and had the best verse on just about every hip hop record he’s appeared on (see: this, this, and this).
This week Flying Lotus dropped ‘Never Catch Me’, a cut from his upcoming You’re Dead, and it’s a hell of an introduction to his work. The track opens off with a gentle piano and nebulous bass line anchoring shifting rhythmic patterns (skittering prog-rock drums one moment, groove heavy soul the next, 4 on the floor claps the next). Then Kendrick comes in, lyrics pitched somewhere between forward looking braggadoccio and existential wandering, his flow evolving from otherworldly haunting to quiet confessional to a furious fever pitch. And then a Jaco Pastorius-circa-Weather Report bass solo drops in and clears the pallete (most likely compliments of Thundercat, formerly of Suicidal Tendencies). Check it out for yourself:
You’re Dead is out October 7th, and features Herbie Hancock and Thundercat along with Kendrick Lamar and others.