When Kendrick Lamar pulled Future up onstage at Coachella to perform Mask Off in the middle of his set, it was unexpected and a little confusing. Just days after premiering DAMN,. why would he get Future, the antithesis of Kendrick’s entire conscious ethos, on stage for a song that he doesn’t even feature on?
It turns out that the live rendition, which featured little more than a few adlibs from Kendrick, was a precursor to a fresh new remix featuring a verse from Kendrick himself. And he’s dropped a tiny reference to Australia in the process.
“Kung Fu Kenny with the Midas touch” he proudly proclaims, with DAMN. dwarfing sales from his entire earlier career. “Ain’t no penny that I don’t touch.”
He then shouts out Australia with the line, “Half of y’all might need help / I might fall in Rodeo / I might ball in Australia / I might call her for real.”
Hilariously, the genius.com annotation explains Kendrick’s reference as follows: “Australia is a hot desert island at the ends of the earth in which little hip-hop culture exists. Kendrick boasts about his ambition and skill so much so that he will conquer even that godforsaken land.”
While I didn’t predict Kung Fu Kenny ladling out a verse for the year’s drowsiest sedative anthem, this verse, clearly written in real and recent time, absolutely slays, and it makes Future’s own performance feel ever slower. He makes the most of the dichotomous situation, pointedly asking, “How y’all let a conscious n**ga go commercial while only makin’ conscious albums?”
Kendrick toured Australia in March 2016. He’d previously come in 2014 with Eminem, J Cole and others on the Rapture Tour. Read our live review here, and check out our complete photo gallery of Kendrick Lamar in Sydney.