If there's one thing that's clear from Kendrick Lamar's "The Heart Part 4," it's that the hip hop artist is pretty mad about a lot of things. While that fact certainly feels obvious from Lamar's terse delivery of his lyrics, it's also pretty damn evident from the content of the song itself. In fact, it sounds like the rapper may be dissing some specific people within the wildly amazing track. So, who is "The Heart Part 4" about? If the general chatter of the internet is to believed, then there's the possibility that Lamar is dissing Big Sean and Drake on the song. But is that actually the case?
First, it's worth acknowledging that, while the rapper has no problems calling President Donald Trump, "a chump," on the track, he doesn't directly aim any more of his vitriol at specific people. Instead, he takes lyrical shots at an unnamed rapper on the second verse, dressing up his take downs with subtle references, and allowing the listener to come to their own conclusions.
And one of those conclusions is that Lamar could be talking about Big Sean in the following lyrics:
My fans can't wait for me to son your punk ass and crush your whole lil sh*t
I'll Big Pun your punk ass, you a scared lil b*tch
In these lines alone, it's easy to identify the possibility that Lamar is having fun making plays on Big Sean's name in a manner designed to insult him. First, there's the repetition of "lil." But then there's also the reference to the late rapper, Big Pun, suggesting a certain level of reverence to him while disrespecting Big Sean as being far less than his name suggests.
But there may also be a little more to this reference, and it involves the history of their beef.
It's worth remembering, after all, that much of the alleged feud between Big Sean and Lamar was apparently ignited by the song "Control," off Big Sean's 2013 album. On it, fans considered Lamar as having dominated "Control" with his rhymes, effectively crushing Big Sean with his lyricism. It's relevant because Big Pun is also known for having done similar to rapper Fat Joe on the seminal track, "Twinz." So, clearly, Lamar may have used this parallel to play out a multi-layered takedown of his rival.
To further add fuel to the Big Sean diss theory is the line, "Tip-toeing around my name, n*gga you lame," which sounds like Lamar retaliating against lines in Big Sean's song, "No Interviews." Stating, "And I’m just not impressed by you n*ggas rapping fast/ Who sound like one big asthma attack, but trash when I’m rapping it back," the lyrics from "No Interviews" were thought by many to be in reference to Lamar's distinctive, and celebrated, rapping style throughout Untitled Unmastered.
But fans aren't just speculating that the song is about Big Sean. There's also some who believe that "The Heart Part 4" is about Drake, and there are a couple of specific lines which point to that theory. For starters, in the middle of the song's gigantic second verse, Lamar appears to rework the lyrics to Drake's "Pound Cake," stating:
Tables turn, lesson learned, my best look
You jumped sides on me, now you 'bout to meet Westbrook
Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you
Just know the next game played, I might slap the sh*t out you
As Drake fans will know, "Pound Cake" features the lyric, "Tables turn, bridges burn, you live and learn," which could be what Lamar is playing on. But "Pound Cake" also happens to feature Jay Z — an artist who is also name dropped in a supposed diss to Drake, towards the end of "The Heart Part 4."
Hoe, Jay Z Hall Of Fame, sit your punk ass down
So that means you ain't bigger than rapping (what else?)
In 2016's "Summer Sixteen," Drake boasted, "I used to wanna be on Roc-A-Fella, then I turned into Jay," and it's thought that Lamar's lyric here is him dragging Drake for this inflated sense of self. The line possibly insinuates that the Canadian rapper isn't just unworthy of such a comparison, but that Lamar doesn't think him worthy of even being able to stand next to Jay Z and that he needs to take a seat.
Teasing the possible release date of Lamar's next album, the song ends with the rapper stating, "y'all got till April the 7th to get y'all sh*t together," which sounds like a battle cry if I ever heard one. While the disses on "The Heart Part 4" are only speculative at this point, it'll be interesting to see whether Lamar's new album will drop a fresh batch of beef that perhaps won't be so open to interpretation. And, as always, interesting to see the pointed political commentary that Lamar weaves into his perfect lyrics.