“Hood Politics” stands as an early favorite for myself, the track made up of three separate and unique musical arrangements, while sporting dense, impactful lyricism, spit out with a robust energy, and an intense inflection. And it helps that it contains one of the LP’s most notable sections of lyrics:
Everybody want to talk about who this and who that
Who the realest and who wack, or who white or who black
Critics want to mention that they miss when hip hop was rappin’
Motherf**ker if you did, then Killer Mike’d be platinum
This line really points out one of the biggest problems surrounding the music industry and that’s a lack of insight into anything outside of what’s “popular.” Somehow, miraculously, Kendrick Lamar managed to make it through and into the mainstream without resorting to an overt use of high hats and silly repetitive lyricism.
Despite this, rappers like Killer Mike, with messages and talent of equal importance are still being left (somewhat) by the wayside. This line, while a lot of fun, also works with the central theme of the album – ignoring wonderful aspects of culture, by promoting the idea that it’s negative. In today’s world, critics often say things like “Hip hop is not what it was 20 years ago!” with the evidence of this found amongst the constant comparisons between Kendrick and Tupac. This is a fine, and obvious comparison to make, but often it overshadows Lamar’s own message.
The track ends with Kendrick adding more lines to his moving poem being written over the length of the album.