Kendrick Lamar & N*E*R*D’s Collabo Is Inspired By Lethal Law Enforcement Stops (Audio)
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In less than two days, N*E*R*D will release No_One Ever Really Dies. After a seven-year album hiatus, Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley return with a star-studded LP on a new label. André 3000, Rihanna, Gucci Mane, and Kendrick Lamar are among guests to the December 15 album. With the André assisted “Rollinem 7’s” leaked briefly in November, another anticipated cut surfaces today. “Don’t Don’t Do It” features Kendrick Lamar, as well as additional vocals from Frank Ocean. In an interview corresponding to the song’s release, Pharrell tells Zane Lowe that despite its fast tempo, the song is political. It is particularly inspired by the September 2016 killing of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte Police officer Brentley Vinson. At the time, 43-year-old Scott was mistaken for a suspect police were pursuing in his apartment complex. Officer Vinson was never charged. Other similar recent American incidents are also alluded to in the lyrics.
At the chorus, Pharrell takes an apparent page from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “White Lines (Don’t Do It).” Rather than urging listeners to say no to drugs, this song fights back against police orders: “They wanna see your hands, tell you hold up your arms / Don’t do it, don’t don’t do it.” Just as 3 Stacks’ N*E*R*D verse recreated a police interrogation outside a home, so does Skateboard P. “Wait, is that police? / Get out for what? / I’m not your guy / They’re gonna do it anyway / Wife behind the trees / Try’na to tell you don’t / They’re about to fire,” sings Pharrell. In his second verse, P mentions the many cities where Black men and boys have been killed at the hands of police. “They gonna do it anyway,” the singer’s verse closes. With a nimble flow, Kendrick stays on the subject to bring the song home. “Don’t let it go bad when he ante up / Highway, get out the way / Black man do your great escape / Pacman want to prosecute you, raise your hand up, then he shoot ya / Face off, face up, Adolf Hitler / Grandkids slayed off / Ni**as, same rules, same chalk / Different decade, same law / Keep focus, you wanna get caught with your eyes open,” he spits. As is often the case, K-Dot ends with suspense. The closing is a reminder that these issues live on. “How many more of us gotta see the coroner? / Slain by the same badge, stop, wait, brake, fast!”
In addition to this N*E*R*D highlight, the playlist is updated with highlights from Statik Selektah, Brent Faiyaz, Eminem, Jaden Smith, CyHi The Prynce, Scarface, Rapsody, Talib Kweli, Evidence, Fabolous, Jadakiss, Big K.R.I.T., Wu-Tang Clan, Madlib, and a host of others.