Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar Illustrate Their “family ties” as Hip-Hop Royalty


Photo: Bryan Blue

I'm not one for secrets, but I feel that there's one that I need to get off my chest. Every odd-numbered day I wake up and say "Thank you Cardo," and every even-numbered day I wake up and say "Thank You Keem." To many, this ritual seems meaningless and obsessive, but to me, it is my way of showing appreciation to one of the most culturally significant and impactful duos since Simon and Garfunkel.

If you're a Baby Keem fan, you know that the wait for his upcoming sophomore album The Melodic Blue has been anything but easy, but luckily he and his cousin Kendrick Lamar return this week with their newest Cardo-produced single "family ties," a triumphant and chaos-laden banger from three of hip-hop's most prominent figures.

You probably don't spend your weekends combing through Cardo Got Wings' Wikipedia like I do, and that's no problem. One listen to "family ties" will leave you well familiar with his detailed, iconoclastic style and why he meshes so well with hip hop's greatest. First performed at Baby Keem’s newest string of SoCal shows, “family ties” sports effortless flows and high-octane verses over a boisterous yet infectious mix, one that features the intoxicating synthesis of brass instruments and hip-hop percussion. Keem’s cadence is infectious to even the most hard-headed hip-hop skeptic but after a brief beat-switch towards a more laid-back register, things take a serious stylistic change.

Like Baby Keem's 2019 debut Die For My Bitch, "family ties" features an uneasy and ominous mix full of eclectic and forward-thinking verses and thundering bass signals. Baby Keem and Kendrick trade tightly woven verses whose sporadic genius becomes hard to ignore when paired alongside the Dave Free-directed visual. Whether shooting a gun out the window of a stretch limousine or spitting bars digitally alongside his younger cousin, Kendrick makes his long-awaited return to hip-hop in the best way possible. At this point, Baby Keem seems like he's aiding Kendrick's reintroduction, but together the two rappers pull no punches while showcasing why they're considered to be two of the culture's finest.

Watch the "family ties" video below: