Kendrick Lamar has the ability to take a contrived metaphor that should by all accounts be annoying after a single use and build an entire song off it. The newest single from his upcoming good kid, m.A.A.d. city, “Swimming Pools (Drank),” does just that.
The song plays on “diving in” to a bottle of liquor to ruminate on the too prevalent alcoholism in inner-city America:
Now I done grew up ’round some people living their life in bottles
Granddaddy had the golden flask
Back stroke every day in Chicago
See how he slyly adds that “back stroke” line to push the song just over the edge? But Lamar adds more wordplay, shifting between vodka shots and the gunbursts sounding out around his native Compton to tie his subject to his setting:
I ride, you ride, bang
One chopper, one hundred shots, bang
Add in a nasally half-verse from the point of view of his conscience (explained bluntly with the lines: ‘Okay, now open your mind up and listen to me, Kendrick/I’m your conscience, if you do not hear me’); It’s enough to make you want to hate the song. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s right, as he slides it all in to a radio-friendly club beat with a buttery flow that you just can’t help but bob along to. Just don’t do it at a party, right?