Real life cousins Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem are keeping it in the family with their new song ‘Range Brothers’, featured on Keem’s debut LP The Melodic Blue. The track follows the pair’s previous collaboration ‘Family Ties’ that dropped in late August. ‘Family Ties’ represented Lamar’s first new music since 2018.
Mixing trap beats and ‘Range Brothers’ finds both rappers in their respective elements. For Keem, that’s alternating between bragging about “fuckin’ and rappin'”, presumably in that order. For Kendrick, it means being one of the most memorable and recognisable voices of the genre, even if he’s a sparse presence here.
The nasally auto-tuned hook doesn’t impress as much, and the track itself never really goes anywhere in the first four minutes, but the beat switch that takes us into Keem’s final verse is smooth. The orchestral touches that dot the track add a bit of dramatic weight as well. I swear to God that the backing strings sound like The Dark Knight theme composed by Hans Zimmer, but that could just be me going crazy. Time (and WhoSampled) will tell.
Since it’s a Baby Keem track, Kendrick doesn’t really get all that much to do. He kickstarts the transition into the song’s beat switch before trading lines with Keem on the second verse. The balance is about 85 per cent Keem, 15 per cent Kendrick, which is a bummer considering that ‘Family Ties’ was roughly a 50-50 split.
I can understand Keem not wanting to overuse or be overpowered by his cousin, but Kendrick’s reduced presence feels a bit superfluous. Still, it’s a solid track and a highlight on what winds up being a pretty uneven album.
Check out the audio for ‘Range Brothers’ down below.