Kendrick Lamar & Big Sean Are Together For The 1st Time Since “Control” On “Holy Key” (Audio)

Nearly 3 years ago Big Sean released a song that had been left on the cutting room floor for his album Hall Of Fame, due to clearance issues. When that song, “Control,” leaked, it caused an explosion in the Hip-Hop world that may yet to be matched. Rather than anything Sean said, the commotion was due to a career-shifting verse from Kendrick Lamar, in which he put virtually all of his peers, including Sean, on notice that Rap is a competitive sport, and he was out to be on the top of the food chain. The verse dominated Hip-Hop headlines and discourse for weeks, and prompted seemingly hundreds of “response” records, though Kendrick’s verse was intended to be a wake up call, rather than a diss. Sean and Kendrick have not been heard on the same record since, but DJ Khaled has changed that tonight (7/22).

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Earlier this evening, Khaled premiered his song “Holy Key,” also featuring Betty Wright, from his forthcoming Major Key album, on Apple Music’s Beats 1. Three years removed from “Control,” both Kendrick and Sean have grown into superstars, and neither has anything to prove to anyone. Also, in today’s climate of global social unrest, each has more on his mind than lyrical gymnastics. Sean nods to Khaled’s popular inspirational Snapchat “keys” to life, stressing positive thinking and eating clean. He also specifically addresses the police violence that has become embedded in the nation’s psyche, rapping “Father help us. Police doing target practice with real bodies. Mamas in the streets, crying, standing over a still body.” Kendrick’s verse is deeply philosophical and spiritual, if not cryptic. He shuns materialism, aspects of organized religion, the hold corporations have over us, and the den of sin the world has become.

They are heady verses from two of Hip-Hop’s most skilled MCs, who are looking for order in a world that is seemingly spinning out of control.