There are literally thousands, if not millions, of people for whom the words "new Chris Brown song" illicts the sudden and pressing need to jump on the nearest interwebs connection and listen to Breezy's latest work. I won't lie, I'm not one of those people. However, I will drop kick the nearest kitten if it means getting to hear a new Kendrick Lamar verse right now. (I have no idea what drop kicking a kitten has to do with listening to a song - maybe the kitten is standing on my keyboard and refuses to move and is actually a very large, aggressive kitten? - but you get the point.)
So when Brown's collabo with Kendrick Lamar, "Autumn Leaves," hit the digital world today, I rushed to hear it, but with some apprehension. There's no quicker and more well-traversed path to "worst verse ever" territory for a rapper than when they jump on a R&B/pop song. It's hard enough to get hip-hop labels to pay for complex lyricism on a hip-hop track, they're usually not particularly eager to shell out for dope rhymes when they're trying to push what they hope will be a platinum pop album. Hence Big Sean's career.
Thankfully though, it turns out all of my Kendrick-related fears were misplaced.
Frankly, I'm going to need some more time to marinate on this before I can place it in the Kendrick pantheon; my gut instinct says "good but I didn't get that 'oh shit!' feeling. And it will be especially hard for me to sort of my feelings considering Kendrick's verse is essentially a counter-defense to all the Chris Brown detractors, but that's what I have y'all for. Maybe together we can figure out what to think about "Autumn Leaves" when you're the type of person who cares way too much about music.
I'm interested to see what DJBooth Nation thinks about this one. Hit the poll below, and for the real deal, pre-order Brown's "X" album now or cop when it drops this coming Tuesday, 9/16.
p.s. - Had to break out my terrible Photoshop skills for this one. The sight of Chris Brown plaintively looking up to angel Kendrick for guidance was making me laugh too hard to resist.
p.p.s. - Can we all agree to giggle like 6th graders at the "I poke at it, and I poke at it..." line?
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks in podcast form and appears on RevoltTV. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]