When Compton’s lyrical virtuoso Kendrick Lamar and St. Louis-born songstress SZA combine forces, the result is nothing short of a meteor shower in the hip-hop and R&B universe. Each an architect of their own soundscapes, their collaborations are a confluence of potent lyricism and soul-stirring vocals. Lamar, often praised for his piercing insight and expansive narratives, serves as a voice of a generation. SZA, with her ethereal melodies and unflinchingly honest songwriting, is the siren call of modern soul.

The duo’s collaborations stand as cultural mileposts, capturing a particular resonance with the hip-hop and R&B zeitgeist. Grounded in introspection and the human experience, their songs explore themes ranging from self-empowerment to systemic injustice, layered over production that bends the edges of contemporary sound. While their combined discography might not be vast, the quality within is dense with innovation and passion. Even within the confines of a single track, their dynamic pairing pushes each artist to explore the crevices of their individual artistry, all while illustrating a shared and profound musical chemistry.

So let’s get into it. From “Babylon” to “All The Stars”, here are the Best Kendrick Lamar & SZA Songs of All Time.

3. Babylon (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Released: 2014

SZA’s haunting vocals float over the dizzying production, tapping into that age-old narrative of self-sabotage and the struggle of seeking love in a cold world. Kendrick, the lyrical virtuoso, swoops in on the back end with his signature brand of introspective fire. He spits about the duality of man, the Gemini in him flipping the script between enlightened and self-destructive, perfectly complementing SZA’s reflective mood. This track is a raw portrayal of the tug-of-war between growth and regression, a theme that both artists lace with finesse, pushing the boundaries of what you’d expect from a hip-hop collab. “Babylon” isn’t just a song; it’s a stark, unapologetic mirror held up to the complexities of human nature, served straight up with no chaser. It’s the kind of cut that leaves you contemplating long after the last beat drops.

2. Doves In The Wind (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Released: 2017

It’s a joint that speaks to the deeper essence and power dynamics of intimacy with prose that doesn’t shy away from the raw and real. SZA and K-Dot flip the script on conventional hip-hop narratives about sexuality, pulling no punches on the commodification of physical connections. The Compton wordsmith lays down bars that not only question the chase but elevate the conversation to the psychological games and the cost of physical gratification. This track serves as a cerebral discourse over a laid-back beat, allowing listeners to nod their heads while chewing on the heavier themes of value and respect. It’s a call to be wise to the games being played and recognize the worth beyond the physical—something Kendrick and SZA navigate with masterful lyricism and an undeniable cool that resonates within the vibrant canon of hip-hop culture.

1. All The Stars (with SZA)

Released: 2018

Kendrick and SZA, they’re like two different sides of the same coin, spitting reality and painting a picture so vivid, it’s almost tangible. In this track, they’re not just touching on love; they’re dissecting it under the microscope of fame, success, and the grind that comes with it. Through the lush production, you can feel that tug-of-war of aspirations against personal connections. And Kendrick, true to form, ain’t holding back – he’s questioning motives, callin’ out the fake, and servin’ us with that raw reflection like only he can. Paired with SZA’s soulful voice that brings an ethereal balance, they create this vibe that’s at once hopeful and haunting, like they’re reaching for those stars while keeping it painfully grounded. It’s a soundtrack to ambition, to the struggles that shape us, and to the dreams that keep us lookin’ up. No wonder it resonated so hard with the heads and beyond; it’s real talk with a beat you can’t ignore.