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Meaning of ‘LOVE. FEAT. ZACARI.’ by ‘Kendrick Lamar’ feat. Zacari

Released: 2017

Features: Zacari

In the cut “LOVE. FEAT. ZACARI.” from Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-laden album, ‘DAMN.’, we get a nuanced exploration of romance in the fast lane. Kendrick is flipping the script on the classic love song, probing deeper into the realness of love versus the allure of lust, with Zacari crooning out an R&B laced hook that sets the emotional backdrop. It’s about authenticity in relationships, questioning whether the love from his partner is down like four flat tires no matter the circumstances.

Peep the way Kendrick dives into the psyche with “if I didn’t ride blade on curb, would you still (love me)? If I minimized my net worth, would you still (love me)?” Homie’s testing the waters, asking if his girl would still be around if his status wasn’t poppin’, if the swag and the bank account took a hit. That real love isn’t about the bling or the brand, it’s about the bond. He flips “keep it a hundred” into a dual meaning – keeping it real with each other but also hinting that without her, he’s incomplete, down to zero.

Then the song steadies on that smooth chorus, with Zacari’s tender vocals repping love’s simplicity. Kendrick wants no frills, just that straight-up, unfiltered love. Still, he can’t shake off the thrill of the chase, as he repetitively urges, “Give me a run for my money.” He’s flexing his competiveness even in love, a nod to his hip-hop hustle mind-state.

Things get a bit more playful in the verse “Feelin’ like Tyson wit’ it, knock it out twice, I’m wit’ it.” K-Dot’s saying he’s ready to go rounds, like Mike Tyson in his prime, but it’s love on the line, not the heavyweight belt. He’s juggling that street edge with his softer side, “Only for the night, I’m kiddin’, Only for life, yeah, only for life, yeah.” It’s that battle between the playboy persona and the ride-or-die partner within, knowing he’s in it for the long haul deep down.

The track’s vibe shifts gears when Kendrick recalls a more humble time in the second verse, “Remember Gardena? I took the studio Camry.” Here’s the raw reflection, that true love has been there from the jump – before the fame and money blew up. He references Top, likely Top Dawg from TDE, hinting at sacrifices made in the name of love, music, and ambition. The narrative gets personal, painting a picture of Kendrick’s rise and the role love played in that journey.

As the song nears its close, Kendrick keeps the hook tight and Zacari’s vocals stay lacing the track with that silky-smooth vibe, continually questioning the nature of love against the backdrop of the entertainment industry’s flash. It’s a love song that’s rooted in hip-hop’s essence—real talk, real life, and the real choices that define us.

So that’s the breakdown, fam. “LOVE. FEAT. ZACARI.” is like a sonic love letter but with layers, pushing past the sweet nothings into something more concrete. It’s Kendrick Lamar and Zacari laying out a track that’s as much about finding truth in the game as it is about finding truth in each other. Love in hip-hop, love in life – it’s complex, but when it’s real, it’s worth every bar spitted.

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