Kendrick Lamar delivers a powerful verse about the cycles of violence and desperation that ensnare so many in impoverished areas on “Survive,” a new track from Bay Area stalwart Mistah F.A.B.
Over a languid but somber mid-tempo beat from Tha Bizness, Lamar lets loose a cascade of characteristically dextrous, clever and thoughtful lines. In one instance, he compares expert fence jumpers to Olympic hurdlers, before spitting this defiant, tongue-twisting rhyme: “Life of a young delinquent/Even stole him a Lincoln, at 15/Middle fingers, walked out the precinct.”
The song also boasts an elegiac hook from Chicago singer Kobe Honeycutt, while Mistah F.A.B. turns in a vivid performance (“Section 8 policies/Top Ramen and sunflower seeds/June got killed cause he ain’t wanna lose his Wallabies”) and Slaughterhouse member Crooked I closes with a similarly gruff but poignant verse.
“I reached out to Kendrick about a year ago like, ‘Yo Cousin, I need you on this record,'” F.A.B. tells Rolling Stone of how “Survive” came together. “He said it was no problem and got it to me the next day. Kendrick is hella talented. I just love that the world is embracing him the way that he is because he’s been a star, it’s just that it took a long time for the world to see it. TDE [Top Dawg Entertainment] has such a great situation in how they play off each other and support each other.”
“Survive” will appear on Mistah F.A.B.’s Son of a Pimp 2, out May 27th via Empire. The 21-track record boasts a slew of guests including Snoop Dogg, Too $hort, E-40, Jadakiss, Keak Da Sneak, Raekwon, Schoolboy Q, Bun B, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Lupe Fiasco, Keyshia Cole, Curren$y and late Bay Area rapper the Jacka.