Following their work together on the Grammy-winning To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar joins Thundercat on “Walk On By.”
Over smooth and funky production, Thundercat reveals the depths of an internal battle. “Don’t wanna put up a fight anymore / I’m down to the end of my road,” he sings. “And I’m free falling / I’ll search inside myself / I need to know why I act this way / A whisper turns to a scream / I can’t ignore it no more.”
Later, he adds: “At the end of it all / No one wants to drink alone / Baby, that’s how it goes / Don’t walk away from me.”
With his penchant for intricate rhyme patterns and poetic symbolism, King Kendrick delivers a thoughtful verse. “From my eyewitness binoculars to Argentina and Africa,” he raps. “We mastered the pressure / Hazardous, harassing us.” K-Dot also addresses harsh childhood realities on the verse. “Nine times out of ten,” he raps. “Young ni**as are nine or 10 when the line becomes thin: be a killer or fireman.”
Thundercat and Kendrick worked together on a bulk of tracks off To Pimp a Butterfly, including “Wesley’s Theory,” “King Kunta,” “These Walls,” “Alright,” “Hood Politics,” “Complexion (A Zulu Love),” and “The Blacker the Berry.”
In 2015, Thundercat spoke with Rolling Stone about his bond with Lamar. “I’ve never been around a person like that,” he said. “He was so freed up to the point that he didn’t care. It would sound so weird, but he would risk it. I’ve spent so much time around cats that try so hard to be this one thing. With him it was effortless and fast… always in the moment and on the seat of his pants.”
“Walk On By” can be found on Thundercat’s new album Drunk, which is available now, featuring appearances by Pharrell Williams, Wiz Khalifa, and Kenny Loggins.