10 Kendrick Lamar Songs, Shuffled

A hypercritical review of 10 random Kendrick Lamar tracks.


Kendrick Lamar is my clear-cut favorite musical artist. Sweeping my “most played” tracks on Spotify, the lyrical mastermind is excellent for a plethora of situations; be it the car ride to school, a background song when boolin with friends, or during a late night trying to figure out what my research paper could possibly be on. Quite familiar with the entirety of Kendrick’s discography, I present to you a discussion of the 10 tracks that played when I put his musical collection on shuffle.



“Love’s gonna get you killed, But Pride’s gonna be the death of you and you…”

An excellent beginning to this article, Pride is the seventh track on Kendrick Lamar’s iconic album DAMN. It presents a story of introspection. Alluding to a “perfect world,” Kendrick explores the morals and ideals of humanity in contrast with its actions. The structure of this track is nothing short of masterful. The oscillation of the vocals creates a rhythmic flow, sedating any listener into an enthusiastic head bop. The instrumentals follow a simple melody but are enhanced by the main and background voice of Kendrick Lamar. Overall, this is a wonderful track and an excellent first song for anyone who wishes to indulge in the artist. 

2. Crown

Following a simple tone, our second song is from Kendrick Lamar’s most recent studio album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. A soothing melody, the piano instrumentals fit perfectly with Kendrick’s voice. The lyrics are once again introspective but with more repetition and a more defined message. “Heavy is the head that chose to wear the crown” is my favorite lyric in this song, with an emphasis on the word “chose”. While not a go-to when I listen to Kendrick, Crown is certainly fitting for a relaxed or moody evening.

3. i (single)

This single by Kendrick Lamar is miles more cheery and upbeat than the previous two songs. Shining with biblical allusions, the track presents Kendrick Lamar overcoming his hardships in confidence and self love, exploring the theme of resilience as well as determination through hard times. The positive tempo of the track correlates with the optimistic message in the song, creating a wonderful jam and story. The rhetorical questions sprinkled throughout the performance allow the listener to look within themselves as the song progresses: “Everybody lookin’ at you crazy, What you gonna do? Lift up your head and keep moving, Or let the paranoia haunt you?” Overall, this song is a great listen and fit for any sort of hype within your day.

4. For Sale? – Interlude

This track is one of the most underrated songs on Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly. The thirty-second buildup into the glimmering, high-pitched instrumentals provides a tension that is followed with the chaos of the accelerating trumpets. While the buildup features excellent vocals, Kendrick’s verse in the body of the song is glamorous: the repetition at the end of his lines mixed with parallel structure and listing creates a remarkable transition into the speaking portion of the text, which presents a dialogue between Kendrick and the devil, denoted by the name of “Lucy” in the song. The sudden shift at the end of the track marks a switch into realizing the evils of Satan, leading into the rest of the album. An excellent song overall, and I would like to note that it is my number ten most listened to song on Spotify, all time.

5. United in Grief

This track is my favorite off of Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. The first song on the album, a single piano chord follows the introduction of Kendrick and vocals urging him to tell his story. Kendrick raps in a standard, straight rhythm form, alternating his speed as the instrumentals shift into higher pitches. The amount of variation within the song makes it a great choice for any occasion.


6. Untitled 06

The sixth song, ironically titled 06, was my most listened to song in the month of July and my number four most listened to song all time. Untitled 06 is an underappreciated masterpiece by Kendrick Lamar, featuring CeeLo Green. The style of this song is un-replicated throughout Kendrick’s discography, with a jazzy connotation and a beautiful flow. The instrumental shift between verses is one of my favorite instrumental samples from all of Kendrick’s work. The wind instruments harmonize perfectly with the percussion and piano, creating what I consider to be a top 5 song by Kendrick Lamar. I hope my readers give this song a listen, be it on a mellow afternoon drive or upon walking into their first block class. 

7. Real

The chorus of Anna Wise is repetitive but very fitting with the steady flow of the song. Kendrick’s verses seem to flow in a stream created by the instrumentals, exploring themes and lessons of love, “you love so much you love when love hurts” being one of the most powerful lines in the song. Lacking diversity, this may be fitting for listeners who enjoy a powerful message and story instead of a journey of musical melody. 

8. Now or Never

At number eight, we have my number one most listened to song on Spotify of all time. To quote a good friend Cooper Mitchell, “This is our anthem”. This song is wonderful, and always reminds me of car rides with Ransome or porch-mornings looking into the Wando River with my friends. The song presents Kendrick’s relief and happiness in his achievements and  a positive theme along with a very upbeat and lively melody. A grand track, this is a recommendation for all of my readers. 




Known for its phenomenal storytelling, DUCKWORTH. is one of Kendrick’s most renowned pieces. My senior quote is pulled from this song’s lyrics, which shifts from Kendrick’s usual methods of communicating a theme to a direct explanation of events. The rhyming within the story mixed with the undisrupted rhythm transforms the song into a poem. The story itself presents how Top Dawg robbed the KFC that (no spoilers) worked at, and ended up sparing their life because he would always give Top Dawg extra food in his orders, aware of the gang affiliation within his city. The end of the story presents a plot twist, in which the identity of the KFC worker and Kendrick’s relation to Top Dawg is revealed. Overall this story is magnificent, and the composition, both lyrically and musically, is mind-blowing. I beg my audience to give it a listen.

10. FEAR.

The final song on our randomized list is what I consider to be the most underrated track on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. album. As a side note, I find it interesting how FEAR. alludes to Keisha, a character mentioned across Kendrick’s discography (Keisha’s Song in Section.80 and Sing About Me, Dying of Thirst in Good Kid, Mad City). The song once again features a form of storytelling, this time with a progression of introspection across three periods of Kendrick’s life: 7, 17, and 27 years old, all displaying a time where he was truly afraid. The first verse is from the perspective of Kendrick as a child, listening to his mother explain the consequences of things such as getting his Jordan’s dirty and his teachers being unhappy, “I’ll beat your *ss if you [Kendrick] say that game is broken”. Kendrick fears his strict mother. The second verse is presented from the viewpoint of him as a teenager, when he begins to fear police brutality and violence within his city. He portrays the early deaths of those around him through the powerful line of “I’ll prolly die cause that’s what you do when you’re 17”. Kendrick uses anaphora to display his fear, this time of dying at a young age. He repeatedly starts each line with “I’ll prolly die,” increasing the emotional power of the story. In the third verse, Kendrick is 27. He states that “at 27 years old my biggest fear was being judged,” which stands in direct contrast to the previous two ages he speaks from. Instead of fearing a person or physical reality, Kendrick brings back a terror mentioned in his album To Pimp a Butterfly. Kendrick is afraid of losing the life he has built and is unconfident in his success and talent. He states that he is afraid of how people will reflect on his story, as well as his city and family, after listening to his work. The 8 minute poem is, according to Kendrick, the best verses he has ever written. The final verse alludes to every song in the album, enwrapping the album with a collection of answers and synthesis. In conclusion, this song is extremely well written and produced, and a must-listen at least once a week. 


Kendrick Lamar takes up most of my “Liked Songs” on Spotify, and as I put his songs on shuffle, I felt an apprehension at what my ten-song list would look like. Overall, the majority of this list is excellent, and I am happy to have been able to talk about some of my favorite tracks by Kendrick Lamar (make sure to give untitled 06 a listen).