“I love myself,” Kendrick Lamar chants in his new single “i,” the first off of his untitled upcoming album.
And to drive home his inspiring message, the rapper enlists the help of R&B legends the Isley Brothers.
The music star released the first single off of his new album on Wednesday, Sept.
“This song is for man,” tweeted Dangeroo Kipawaa, CEO of Kendrick Lamar’s record label TDE.
The 27-year-old rapper’s new single begins with a voice proclaiming “a brother who stands for something,” followed by a sample of a guitar line from the Isley Brother’s 1973 hit “That Lady.” Lamar’s uplifting message of self-acceptance resonates through the soul-inspired song.
The artist recently talked to Carson Daly on 97.1 AMP and revealed the meaning behind the cover art for “i.” “Where I’m from, there’s a lot of gang culture and things like that, so instead of throwing on up gang signs, which we used to, I put a Blood and I put a Crip together and we’re throwing up hearts,” explained Lamar.
In terms of acquiring the rights to the Isley Brother’s classic, the hip-hop star told Daly that he had to make a special request.
“I actually had to go to St.
Louis and get the blessing from Mr.
Ronald Isley himself,” Lamar explained.
“He gave me his blessings and you can hear him on a few ad libs in the record.” The rapper also discussed how the interaction with his fans has changed him as an artist over the years.
“When I first started doing music, I did a lot for myself, just for my enjoyment, but then I started doing these shows and I start seeing these kids saying my song saved their lives [because] they were going to commit suicide,” Lamar told AMP.
“It got a little bit deeper than me, you know?” Although a release date has yet to be set for Lamar’s new album, it’s clear from “i” that the musician’s first album since 2012’s “good kid, m.A.A.d city” will be something special.