Ranking the four installments of Kendrick Lamar's "The Heart" series

We’ve heard his mindset, musical approach, and voice mature.

  /  03.24.2017

Kendrick Lamar jumpstarted his 2017 campaign with “The Heart Part 4,” yhe latest in a series of poignant songs dating back to his pre-stardom rap days in 2010. The songs collectively serve as perfect benchmarks for one of the greatest careers in rap history, showing how his mindset, his musical approach, and his voice have matured over the years. Each “The Heart” song is powerful in its own right, but read below to see where we rank each of the four installments.

No. 1 | “The Heart Pt. 3 (Will You Let It Die?)”

“The Heart Part 3 (Will You Let It Die?)” is the best of the series because it shows Kendrick doing exactly what we love him for: honesty and vulnerability. In what now sounds like a prologue to his 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d city debut, Kendrick raps about his Compton upbringing and the pressure of representing his neighborhood and telling his story. “My biggest fear is not feeling accomplished, or turning back to that same accomplice,” he rapped. “My past life was a child with no act right / trying to smile in a room of killers, turn into a crash site / influenced by niggas that spoke the gang culture fluent / assuring that some blossom early, and some truant.”

This also arguably has the most poignant lines from any of the four songs in the series. “Truthfully, I just started rapping to get away / I never thought that your favorite rapper would want a verse / my nigga got hit 25 times with a K / make the decision, ride a beat or ride in a hearse.” After brief guest spots from Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, Kendrick asks the listener to support GKMC when it drops three days later. “Will you let hip-hop die on October 22?” He had been rapping for years before, but it plays perfectly as a bookend to his legacy.

No.2 | “The Heart Part 2”

As the intro of Kendrick Lamar’s indie 2010 release O(verly) D(edicated), “The Heart Part 2” saw Kendrick spitting a flow hungrier than many would associate with hearing him now. The emotion is palpable: he was happy about the buzz he had built so far with projects like the Kendrick Lamar EP, but he desperately wants a chance to tell his story on a wider platform. His flow wasn’t as refined as it would become over the years, but his story was still crystal clear as he speaks about how the life-and-death stakes in his violent neighborhood outweigh any disputes that would come up in rap. “We used to beefing over turf, f–k beefing over a verse / niggas dying, motherf–k a double entendre,” he fumed. But despite such surroundings, he knew he was destined for greatness. “I got a big fear of flying / my future so bright I’d probably go blind for I blink twice, I ain’t lying,” he rhymed. Even before becoming a star, he knew he had the glow.

No.3 | “The Heart Pt. 1”

Kendrick Lamar released “The Heart Pt. 1” before the release of his 2010 album O(verly) D(edicated) and the track just shows him, well, rapping his heart out. Over the beat of Mos Def’s “Umi Says,” K. Dot uses a stream-of-consciousness approach of braggadocio and self-affirmation. He remembers being at the photo shoot for the 2010 XXL Freshman cover, which listed labelmate Jay Rock as an artist to watch. “J. Cole runnin’ late / if he don’t show up, think I can take his place? / Ladies start laughing / No pun intended, I ain’t being sarcastic,” Kendrick remembered. Nothing to worry about: he’d get plenty of magazine covers in the years ahead.

No.4 | “The Heart Pt. 4”

We’re used to seeing Kendrick Lamar speak thoughtfully and introspectively, but every once in a while King Kendrick comes out and destroy all challengers. In that sense, “The Heart Part 4” adheres more to the original “The Heart Pt. 1” than any of the others. He does the same on “Part 4” but instead of hoping and striving to be the best, he confidently proclaims himself as the best rapper alive and stares down anyone who dares question his kingship. While “The Heart Pt. 3” used an album release date at the end to plea for support, “Part 4” lists April 7 as a deadline for his opponents to gather their things. Kendrick has earned his place with rap’s elite, and he’s not afraid to let anyone know.



View More



View More


Walmart has everything you need for the tech enthusiast on your shopping list

Check out our gift guide that highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds in time for Black Friday.

  /  11.10.2023

5 things you need to know about the 2023 Billboard Music Awards

“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.

  /  11.20.2023

Walmart's HBCU Black and Unlimited Tour kicks off at Central State University

On Oct. 10, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University.

  /  11.14.2023

The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour visited Mississippi Valley State University

The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour made its final stop at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and left a lasting impact on students and alumni alike.

  /  11.22.2023

Walmart has the home essentials for everyone on your holiday shopping list

Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.

  /  11.24.2023

Walmart continues HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour during lively Virginia State University stop

After unveiling their state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University, Walmart brought the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to Virginia State University (VSU) on Oct. 13.

  /  11.14.2023

Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour brings attention and wisdom to North Carolina Central University

On Oct. 17, Walmart brought the third stop of the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

  /  11.15.2023

Groovey Lew on hip hop style, Johnell Young's industry secrets, BGS salon's wig mastery and more | 'Black Girl Stuff'

Fashion King Groovey Lew on masterminding hip-hop’s most iconic looks. Actor Johnell Young reveals the secret to breaking into the entertainment industry. Celebrity hairstylist Dontay Savoy and got2B ambassador Tokyo Stylez are in the BGS Salon with the perfect wig install. Plus, comedian Lauren Knight performs.

  /  11.15.2023

Pheelz talks expressing himself through music & his biggest inspirations | 'On In 5'

On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!

  /  07.11.2023

Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'

On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!

  /  07.10.2023

Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'

On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.

  /  07.12.2023

BNXN talks leaving IT for music, linking with Wizkid, going viral & new album | 'On In 5'

For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!

  /  08.08.2023

From city lots to lush gardens: The power of urban farming with Karen Washington

This is the inspiring story of Karen Washington, a pioneering urban farmer who has been revolutionizing urban spaces by transforming them into vibrant community gardens and educational hubs. Sponsored by State Farm.

  /  11.17.2023

Investing in stocks in a recession | 'Maconomics'

Host Ross Mac provides useful advice for preparing your personal finances in the event of a recession. He emphasizes the importance of budgeting properly, building an emergency fund, and maintaining discipline when investing.

  /  11.21.2023

Madam DA Fani Willis proclaims, “A lie has been told on African American men”

“Every time I’m in trouble, it’s been Black men that have come to my aid,” Madam DA Fani Willis said at REVOLT WORLD while speaking on the stereotype that they are not dependable or worth dating.

  /  10.11.2023

Lauren London sparks conversation on how Black parents unintentionally give kids negative outlook on money

At the live taping of “Assets Over Liabilities” at REVOLT WORLD, Lauren London opened up about how witnessing the financial decisions adults made during her childhood fueled her outlook on money. 

  /  10.26.2023

Black media leaders stress the space's importance because we're always antagonists in mainstream's storytelling

“I definitely feel those ‘heavier is the crown’ moments. But I also believe that Black entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to be successful in the future,” Detavio Samuels said at AfroTech.

  /  11.03.2023

Halftime Report | Professional athletes who've dropped rap albums

From Master P to Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Deion Sanders, Damian Lillard and more, these athletes got bars. Check out our list here!

  /  11.01.2023

Machel Montano opens up about life as a child star, new music, and exciting business moves

In an exclusive interview with REVOLT, Machel Montano dove into his musical journey, childhood stardom, and an exciting new chapter in business.

  /  11.03.2023

Lauren London says Nipsey Hussle inspired her eldest son’s interest in finances

“I have those conversations with my son about abundance,” Lauren London said at REVOLT WORLD. 

  /  11.06.2023
View More
Revolt - New Episodes