LA rapper Baby Keem (who is Kendrick Lamar's cousin) has been on the rise lately. He's appeared on records by Kendrick, Beyonce, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, and others; he partnered with Kendrick's new pgLang company; he was named an XXL freshman; and he recently put out the promising two-song single "Hooligan" / "Sons & Critics Freestyle." Kendrick has now interviewed Keem for the 40th anniversary issue of i-D, and they talked about a handful of different topics, including how a DJ Dahi beat intended for Kendrick's DAMN. ended up on Keem's 2019 project Die for My Bitch:

Kendrick: That was my favourite beat, I just forgot about it because that was a beat that I was supposed to put on Damn, but I never got to it. It was in my top five DJ Dahi beats. But the fact that you grabbed that beat, and did something that I wouldn’t ever have done on it, you made it a better song than what I would have done. And that’s why I was like okay, this nigga hard.

Keem: When I stole that beat, I think I had “finished” Die for My Bitch. So I was working on the next project that’s about to come out now. I stole a beat that was too ahead of its time for me and it opened up a whole new world. After that I started working on Die for My Bitch again. When I did the song, I thought, yeah this shit’s hard. I remember niggas started hitting me, and they were saying that ‘this might be your best song ever’. So to hear that was tight. That song propelled me to do experimental shit with Die for My Bitch.

Kendrick also sort of touched on his own new album. The article says that "the world waits eagerly for a new Kendrick album to take stock of the last years of American life under President Trump," and Kendrick himself said, "[playing with new sounds is] what will take me so long to do albums (laughs). I spend the whole year just thinking about how I’m gonna execute a new sound, I can’t do the same thing over and over. I need something to get me excited. I see you get frustrated sometimes because you want some new shit."

"It’s all about finding that balance," Kendrick continued. "I remember the sophomore jinx of Good Kid M.A.A.D City; it was for that year and for that time. I was in a different space in my life. I already knew off the top I can’t make Good Kid M.A.A.D City Part Two. The second I’m making that, it’s corny bro. That takes the feeling away from the first. I need that muhfucka to live in its own world. Then boom, To Pimp a Butterfly. Some people love it to death, some people hate it. [...] I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to sound, built with jazz and blues and hip-hop. But it was more ‘how am I gonna execute that?’"

Read more here and hopefully we'll learn more about new music from both Kendrick and Baby Keem soon. Meanwhile, stream Keem's two new songs and watch the video for his 2019 single "Orange Soda" below...


25 Best Rap and R&B Albums of the 2010s

See albums 100-26 here.