Kendrick Lamar has finally unveiled his fourth studio album, Damn, and while the project has already set the internet ablaze with charged tracks such as “Pride” and “DNA,” it’s Lamar’s high-profile collaborations with U2 and Rihanna that’s had social media buzzing since early Friday morning.
In addition to his collaborative track with U2, “XXX,” Kendrick tapped Rihanna’s soulful vocals for the track “Loyalty,” where the duo trade bars about the necessity of honesty and loyalty in one’s relationships.
In his fourth verse for the track, Kendrick begs the question, “Tell me who you loyal to,” before pondering whether loyalty exists beyond material possessions such as money, alcohol, and cars with, “Is it love for the streets when the lights get dark? / Is it unconditional when the ‘Rari don’t start?”
For Rihanna’s verse, the self-proclaimed “badgalriri” discusses being a “bad b****” before reaching her superstar status, rapping, “Haul a** on a b**** all in the fast lane / Been a bad b**** way before any cash came / I’m established / Hundred carats on my name.”
In addition to teaming up for “Loyalty,” which alludes to ODB’s iconic “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” in verse three, Kendrick taps Rihanna for inspiration on his song, “Fear,” where he references Rihanna’s 2009 headline-making lawsuit against her accountant that resulted in a $9 million loss for the songstress due to “bad real estate advice.”
On “Fear,” Kendrick discusses three instances of terror that he experienced at ages 7, 17, and 27, respectively, and how experiences with topics such as domestic violence, death, and lack of confidence helped to shape his sound and self-image.
Speaking on his anxieties over losing confidence in his musical abilities at age 27, Kendrick raps, “When I was 27, I grew accustomed to more fear / Accumulated 10 times over throughout the years / My newfound life made all of my magnified / How many accolades do I need to block denial?”
Kendrick goes on to question whether all of his success is a result of “God playin’ a joke on me,” before discussing the deeply embedded fear that one day he’ll “lose it all.”
“At 27, my biggest fear was losin’ it all / Scared to spend money, had me sleepin’ from hall to hall / Scared to go back to Section 8 with my mama stressin’ / 30 shows a month and I still won’t buy no Lexus / What is an advisor somebody that’s holdin’ my checks? Just to f*** me over and put my finances in debt?” Kendrick raps.
Lamar then goes on to reference Rihanna’s 2009 lawsuit against her accountant, which Rihanna claimed resulted in a $9 million loss in her finances due to her accountant’s “bad real estate advice,” prompting Kendrick to question, “I read a case about Rihanna’s accountant and wondered / How did the bad girl feel when she looked at them numbers? The type of s*** will make me flip out / And just kill somethin’, drill somethin’ / Get ill and fill ratchets with a lil’ somethin’.”
According to a source close to Rihanna at the time of the lawsuit, the “Diamonds” singer sued her accountant, Peter Gounis, as well as the firm Berdon LLP, after they advised her to purchase a $7 million Southern California home even though she was losing money at the time of the investment, Page Six reports.
The publication further notes that according to Rihanna’s lawyers, Gounis advised Rihanna to purchase the Los Angeles home despite knowing that she was experiencing “financial difficulties,” ultimately leading the singer to lose $9 million as a result of the bad real estate deal.
Rih’s lawyers further claimed that Gounis was aware that the house in question was “rotting from water and mold damage,” which forced her to spend in excess of $1 million in improvements to the property before selling it for nearly $2 million less than what she paid for it. While Rihanna initially sued her accounts for $35 million in 2012, the singer later settled with the firm for over $10 million in 2014.
— Vibe Magazine (@VibeMagazine) July 3, 2015
The experience is also rumored to have inspired Rihanna’s 2015 single, “B**** Better Have My Money,” as well as its eyebrow-raising cinematic video where Rihanna kidnap’s an accountant’s wife for ransom before later violently confronting the man in the extended version of the project.
What do you think of Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna’s collaborative track, “Loyalty,” as well as Lamar’s reference of Rihanna’s legal woes in 2009 on “Fear”?
[Featured Image by Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]