Kendrick Lamar visited The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Thursday, and rather than showcasing material off his To Pimp a Butterfly – an Grammy Album of the Year nominee and Rolling Stone‘s Best Album of 2015 – the rapper opted to drop a powerful new track named “Untitled 2.”
The track borrows its opening salvo of lyrics from “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You” – Lamar’s collaboration with funk legend and “Wesley’s Theory” contributor George Clinton – and calls back to his own To Pimp a Butterfly single “I” before exploring funky new territory.
On the track, Lamar examines his own rise in hip-hop along with that of his Top Dawg Entertainment associates, all leading to a high-powered, rapid fire outro where Lamar touts, “Level two, level two / No I’m not done / You don’t have to tell me that I am the one / I could put a rapper on life support / Guarantee that’s something none of you want.”
Lamar has made it a habit in his sporadic late-night appearances to introduce established fans to new music while wowing the uninitiated with a powerful performance: In December 2014, before the arrival of To Pimp a Butterfly, the rapper unleashed his remarkable “Untitled” – perhaps the predecessor to “Untitled 2” – on one of the final episodes of The Colbert Report. Nine months later, on The Late Show, the rapper stitched together a To Pimp a Butterfly medley exclusively for Stephen Colbert’s new gig.
In addition to “Untitled 2,” Lamar also sat down with Fallon to talk about To Pimp a Butterfly and his 11 Grammy nominations and why the rapper was happy he didn’t surpass the 13 nominations netted by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. “I can’t fathom being as great as Michael without putting out the work,” Lamar told Fallon. “So 11 is perfect. He’s the legendary.” Lamar also discussed why albums released in 1974 and 1975 were the main inspiration behind his latest LP.