Written by Jabir MacMillian
As far as new-school lyricists go, you’re getting two of the cream of the crop here. Two of the best under 30, Kendrick & Earl have been compared (and contrasted) quite often during the 2010s. It must be divine intervention that they both produced bangers on their most recent projects titled “DNA”, eh? Let’s look at exactly how each artist differs in their approaches.
Man, this is difficult. I’m gonna look at Kendrick’s second verse in comparing here, because it’s obviously the more standout one. It’s hard to think about how one rides the beat without first considering the beat, but I’m gonna try my damndest here. Kendrick surfs on a transcendent beat switch and extremely flavorful instrumental, BUT I feel Earl’s flow is more noteworthy, as it’s being exerted over a bare-bones and stripped-down beat. Honestly, I could see going either way here though. Earl: 9.5/10 Kendrick: 9/10
Thankfully, neither artist comes with their best bars or we’d be sitting here all day thinking about who’s better. Just looking at the lyrics, you can see they’re covering essentially the same topic, having a superior genetic makeup to the rest of their contemporaries, no bitch being found in ‘em. With that being what we’re analyzing, I’d say Kendrick goes further in depth in announcing his superiority and demeaning the weaker folk. Look at how visceral he is here:
“Sippin’ from a Grammy and walkin’ in the buildin’
Diamond in the ceilin’, marble on the floors
Beach inside the window, peekin’ out the window
Baby in the pool, godfather goals”
Earl spat some heat, but I gotta go with Kendrick here by a respectable margin.
Earl: 7/10 Kendrick: 8.5/10
Like I just referenced, there’s the same core topic being discussed here. Both Kendrick and Earl are referencing their DNA in relation to how great they are. Having two verses, and an overall more fleshed out song, Kendrick is able to be a bit more swank with his bragging. The topic itself is just another rendition of your typical boastful rappity rap. Bit more avant garde form of doing so (at least in Kendrick’s case).
Earl: 6/10 Kendrick: 7/10
The biggest blowout of this versus, BY FAR. I can’t even really compare these two beats. Earl picks another monotonous stripped down beat out of his seemingly-endless collection, while Kendrick might’ve given me the best experience I’ve had with an instrumental in a good while. I mean, I damn near teared up on that beat switch. Jesus Christ. I feel like with the right system though, Earl’s DNA could probably knock. The low-end sounds pretty deep. But then again, with the right system, you’d probably accidentally drive your car off into a ravine listening to Kendrick’s.
Earl: 6/10 Kendrick: 10/10
Let me preface this epilogue with the fact that I’ve always liked Earl. Since the very jump. I consider myself close to a Kendrick stan, but if I were to have a bias, it would be in the complete other direction. That being said, it’d be very difficult for me to seriously consider Earl’s version better. Factoring in how Kendrick snaps on a much brighter (and better) beat switch, he pretty much does everything better here. Na’kel’s feature doesn’t make this much harder for me in describing the gap between these two songs either. I’ll give Earl’s “DNA” a respectable 7/10 and Kendrick’s a stellar 10/10. It’s just a perfect following of the blueprint on how to make a banger.
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