Five Burning Questions Regarding the New Kendrick Lamar Album

Kendrick Lamar at 106 & Park Studios, New York City, August 2012. Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

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Last night, Kendrick Lamar holed up in a Midtown Manhattan studio to preview songs from his good kid, m.A.A.d. city album (out October 22nd). But with only five songs being played, we still have a bunch of questions about one of the year’s most anticipated rap records.

1. How Involved Will Dr. Dre Be?

Kendrick is partly signed to Dre’s Aftermath label and his first single, “The Recipe,” featured a guest verse from the aging doc — but that song was also produced by Scoop DeVille. Last night Dre’s raps appeared on an untitled song, but that one was produced by Just Blaze, leaving questions over how much hands-on influence Dre will have over the sound and direction of the album.

2. How Pop Will Kendrick Go?

The much-rumored song with Lady Gaga, “Partynauseous,” was included in the playback session, and “Poetic Justice” features both a guest turn from Drake and a hearty sample from Janet Jackson‘s “Anytime, Anyplace.” Does this hint at Kendrick aiming for the pop heights?

3. Will The Funkmaster Flex Freestyle Be Used?

Before hitting up his listening session, young Kendrick stopped off at Funkmaster Flex’s radio show to drop rhymes over Notorious B.I.G.‘s “Who Shot Ya?” instrumental. The furious freestyle has been met with wide acclaim, which leaves us wondering whether the lyrics might get shoe-horned into  in some sort of bonus fashion.

4. Will Erykah Badu Be a Late Guest to the Party?

At a short playback session earlier this month down in the D.M.V., Kendrick repeated his admiration for Erykah Badu and teased that he still wants to work with her. There was nothing Badu-related played last night, but with only five songs seemingly signed-off on there’s still time to put in a call in, just so long as he doesn’t have any Wayne Coyne tricks up his sleeve.

5. Does Kendrick Have a Mega-Hit In Him?

Hit-Boy, the kid responsible for crafting Jay and ‘Ye’s gargantuan “N****s in Paris,” contributed production to the second track played last night. But with jazz-style undertones, it didn’t come over as something to blast Kendrick into the mainstream stratosphere. What’s going to be the defining track from good kid, m.A.A.d city?

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