'I'm Dressed in All Black, This Is Not for the Fans of Elvis ...'

Kendrick Lamar's latest is proof that he deserves comparisons to some influential rappers who have preceded him.

I need a second to absorb this verse, but Kendrick Lamar on this Big Sean, Jay-Electronica joint is basically insane (if unquotable within the august walls of The Atlantic).

The thing about this cat is he has lyrics and flows. That sounds like the most cliché praise ever. But frankly, I can think of about five MCs who repeatedly adjusted themselves to the track and also brought poetics to bear. I am not talking about Kendrick as compared to his peers, but Kendrick compared to, like, every rapper I've ever heard. This is like Xzibit meets Busta meets Cube meets Nas. This dude is king right now. 

Jay did his thing too, but I'm ready to hear that full-length joint.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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