Kendrick Lamar has caused shockwaves in the music industry throughout his career, whether that be with his groundbreaking studio albums or his guest appearances on other artists’ work. These are his ten best verses as a feature on other work, some of which are regarded as some of the best verses of the century.
10: Sidewalks – The Weeknd ft. Kendrick Lamar
A power collab if there ever was one in the modern day, The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar are the undisputed kings of their respective fields and they prove such a statement on this fantastic anthem from The Weeknd’s 2016 album ‘Starboy’. Kendrick offers something completely different to what we usually get from him here and he compliments Abel’s voice beautifully as he goes off on his humble beginnings and how hard he has had to work to get to where he is. The highlights come from his choppy flow and some fantastic rhyming in the heart of the verse, starting with words such as “astronomer” and “anonymous” which sound surprisingly fitting for a rap song.
9: Kites – N.E.R.D ft. Kendrick Lamar & M.I.A.
Nobody could have predicted N.E.R.D’s return but once it happened we were treated to a great album full of innovative thinking and fantastic collaborations; none more so than on ‘Kites’ with Kendrick and M.I.A. Kendrick has his hands full in terms of the sheer quality of the other two’s verses here but he more than holds his own and adds that universally known swagger an attitude onto yet another slick Pharrell beat, switching flows easier than anyone you’ll hear.
8: Never Catch Me – Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar
Somewhere between genius and psychotic, Flying Lotus has a knack of crafting a production masterpiece and this song is no different. The crowning element of this is the feature brought to us by Kendrick Lamar which will have been a result of the duo’s recording times for Kendrick’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ album but this isn’t like anything you’ve heard on that project, trust me. Kendrick rides this beat staggeringly well considering how bizarre it is and his changes in pitch and tone make for some great sonic pathways.
7: F**kin’ Problems – A$AP Rocky ft. Kendrick Lamar, Drake & 2 Chainz
A$AP Rocky brought together a superstar collaboration for hit single ‘F**kin Problems’ and Kendrick, Drake and 2 Chainz more than deliver to make this one of the biggest rap bangers of the past decade. There are arguments to be had for all three of Rocky, Drake and K-Dot having the best verse but the general consensus is that Kendrick brings the track to a phenomenal close with witty wordplay and ice cold flow. This song truly is four artists getting the absolute best out of each other and the end product is magnificent.
6: No More Parties In LA – Kanye West ft. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar; rapping alongside Kanye West; over a Madlib beat. That should really be all the justification needed here with this absolutely star studded collab and the work all three put in makes this song an absolute belter. Kendrick in particular utilises his skills brilliantly and you get the impression that he brought Kanye up a level with his own work. It is a match made in heaven having K-Dot and Madlib work together and I feel lucky to have witnessed it.
5: Collard Greens – ScHoolboy Q ft. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick loves this song and this verse so much that he uses it in his own live shows; and it’s plain to see why. He begins over the wild, brash beat with some incredible flow which is all well and good, not to mention that he raps in SPANISH. It sounds impeccable over that beat and he transitions back to English so seamlessly to deliver an absolute killer of a verse, rounding off an incredible anthem.
4: Nosetalgia – Pusha T ft. Kendrick Lamar
Pusha said he was blown away by Kendrick’s verse when he heard it, claiming “I’ve never heard him speak like that” and that “I felt it was really dope that Kendrick hopped in my world – the street life – and put his own perspective on it.” Kendrick digs so deep into his family life on this and it is a really powerful journey that he takes us on, showing true belief in himself as a rapper despite doubts from his father and well, who would doubt Kendrick in hindsight now? It takes a special verse to outdo what Pusha T does on here but I think K-Dot does exactly that.
3: Holy Key – DJ Khaled ft. Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean & Betty Wright
DJ Khaled recruits two of the biggest rap names in the industry for this mega anthem and they reward him with incredible feature verses. Big Sean gives all he’s got and boy does he deliver with an ice cold delivery and one of the best verses of his career, but as you’ll realise with another song on this list, he hasn’t learnt his lesson and continues to hop on songs with Kendrick Lamar. Just when you think Sean has finally toppled him, Kendrick shoots for the stars and goes beyond that; a truly bonkers verse which starts well but gets better and better as it goes on. Nobody rides a beat like Kendrick and this all but proves that point.
2: Control – Big Sean ft. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica
The verse that sent the internet into meltdown. Kendrick Lamar announced himself with a terrifying bang on this verse thanks to his furious delivery and his witty “I don’t smoke crack motherfucker I sell it” line. This verse was more than good enough without what came next but it is the moment that everyone has spoken about. He spends a solid minute calling out just about every single top rapper alive and claiming that he is better than all of them; after this verse how can you really argue? And yet we here at Viberant believe that he has done better than this… How? Here is how…
1: THat Part (Black Hippy Remix) – ScHoolboy Q ft. Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock & Ab-Soul
I want you to do me a favour. Listen to this song and while you do, click on Genius and look at the rhyme scheme on Kendrick Lamar’s verse, a video was made breaking it down into a colour code and I am not exaggerating when I say that the literal whole thing is coloured in. It is a technical masterclass and I find it hard to believe that a better verse exists anywhere in this century, it is simply flawless. The worst part is that every single time I think of this song now, all I refer to is Kendrick’s verse, despite some fantastic deliveries from Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q; but that just tells you how great it truly is.