King's Dead

Album: Black Panther: The Album (2018)
Charted: 50 21

Songfacts®:

  • The first official single from Jay Rock's third album finds him uniting with fellow TDE cohort Kendrick Lamar, as well as James Blake and Future. It marks Jay Rock's first single as a lead artist since his 2015 project 90059.
  • This cut represents the first time that Jay Rock has collaborated with James Blake or Future, though he previously worked frequently with Kendrick Lamar as they are both members of the Black Hippy rap group. Highlights include a joint mixtape titled No Sleep Till NYC released by the pair in 2007 and Jay jumping on Kendrick's "Money Trees" five years later.
  • The lyrically explicit two-part song doubles up as being the second single from the Kendrick and Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith curated Black Panther soundtrack. The title refers to the death of King T'Chaka of Wakanda in the previous Captain America: Civil War movie and there are several references to the events of the film and the comic throughout the track. Lamar's verse is spat from the vantage point of Eric Killmonger, the main villain in the storyline.
  • The song was produced by Teddy Walton and Mike WiLL Made-It. Teddy Walton previously contributed to Kendrick Lamar's DAMN track "LOVE."
  • Kendrick Lamar performed this when he opened the Grammy Awards in 2018. The performance stopped for some brief Dave Chappelle comedy bits, where he remarked on the unusually daring opening number.
  • Future revealed during an episode of Genius' For the Record that he didn't expect Kendrick Lamar to keep the "La di da di da" line. "I did a verse for the song, and then I just did that at the end just in case they want to keep it like an outro or something," he recalled. "And then he kept it, like Kendrick kept it. I was just like, 'But I ain't want that on my verse.' He was like, 'Man, that's the best part.'"
  • This won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance.
  • The song experienced a resurgence during spring 2020, thanks to a viral TikTok trend. The meme involves TikTokkers pairing up, with one rapping Future's lyrics from his verse while another delivers Kendrick Lamar's ad-libs.

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