has been making moves outside of his own sphere recently, joining up with LA-based rapper Cozz
on his debut album Effected
, released on Dreamville Records today. The 14-track album also includes features by label founder J. Cole and artists Curren$y and Garren, but it's the Lamar-featured track "Hustla's Story" that really stands out.
as a whole is a very solid album, "Hustla's Story" stands alone thanks to its incredible production, courtesy of the production trio composed of Meez, Hollywood JB and Louie Ji. Potentially borrowing a little bit of inspiration from Outkast's anthemic track "Player's Ball", "Hustla's Story" spins atmospheric trap beats infused with progressive funk sounds into a dramatic deep cut that defines what artists mean when they call themselves story-tellers.
More than just mere braggadocio, Cozz's verses are several narratives unfolding at once. As he says, "This ain't my story that I'm singing my n-----, but this is another song / This probably your uncle song, probably your big brother song, your father or your mother song." Splitting a fine line between boasting about his own adventures and preaching about the ills of a hustler's life, Cozz instead finds the middle ground that tells the story of his life and the lives of many others with unbiased honesty and clarity.
Surprisingly, Kendrick takes a bit of a back-seat role on the track, though that's by no means a dismissal of his skills. Instead of riding front and center, Kendrick finds a place serenading the track on choral hooks, downplaying his usual proclivity to deliver razor-sharp lines in favor of a more melodic hook and outro. Altogether, by eschewing overcompensation and cliche, "Hustla's Story" swings with an impassioned earnestness rarely found in rap these days.
is out now via Dreamville Records.