Look, if he just skipped 2020, we wouldn’t have blamed him. But K-Dot wouldn’t have done that to us. Kendrick Lamar returned today with his first verse of 2020 — the first since his August 2019 features on Raphael Saadiq’s “Rearview” and fellow Top Dawg Entertainment artist SiR’s “Hair Down” — on “Look Over Your Shoulder,” off Busta Rhymes’s forthcoming album, Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God, out October 30. It’s a return fit for a king, built around a sample from the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There,” with backing vocals by TDE labelmate SZA and an outro by Chris Rock. Lamar’s verse reflects on how he got to his position in hip-hop and culture. “My life is like 12 open mics of hopeless notes,” he raps. “I write for sure, my folks unite / Soon as the flow get nice / The poltergeist that scare emcees.”
Aside from music, Lamar announced his “at-service company,” pgLang, in March. Its website doesn’t seem to have been updated since its launch. Lamar is also the subject of a new cultural biography, The Butterfly Effect, by critic Marcus J. Moore, published earlier this month.