The four rappers trade explosive bars over producer Black Milk’s clanging drums and eerie, looped bells. “I done made it out of the hood,” Brown flows in his manic, idiosyncratic style. “Think I’m goin’ back? I wish a motherfucker would.”
Each participant sneaks in some brooding lines: Ab-Soul is “still wicked as Aleister Crowley,” and Lamar explores trademark religious imagery (“Hold the crosses ‘cross your heart/ Sin is such a work of art”). The verses are connected by Lamar’s smooth, half-sung chorus: “They say I got the city on fire/ I ain’t boomin’, that’s a goddamn lie.”
“I’m pretty much the main star of this show, as always,” Brown told Rolling Stone of the all-star team-up. The track follows Brown’s previous singles “Pneumonia” and “Rolling Stone,” which also appear on his fourth LP, Atrocity Exhibition, out September 30th.
The album, which follow’s 2013’s Old, marks his debut for electronic label Warp Records. Atrocity – which draws inspiration from Raekwon, early Björk, Joy Division, Talking Heads and System of a Down’s Toxicity – also features production from Kanye West collaborator Evian Christ and South African songwriter Petite Noir.
“At the end of the day, its just something that I really took my time with,” Brown recently told Rolling Stone of the album. “I know this day and age, a lot of artists can’t really take time off to make music … they’ll get replaced. With me, [I’m] somebody that’s able to sit down and be able to take my time, ’cause aint nobody gonna be out here sounding like me, ain’t nobody gonna be out here doing what I do.”