“Family Ties” by Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar
For starters, concerning the title of this song (“Family Ties”), Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem are officially listed as being blood relatives, as in cousins. But as for the lyrics, they are primarily braggadocious fare, where apparently no direct reference is made to this relationship.
However, in the first verse, Baby Keem does refer to his collaborator as “Man-Man”. This is a childhood name of Kendrick’s which only the likes of a family member would be familiar with.
But for the most part, Keem goes about depicting himself as some type of a gangsta, while K-Dot is more intellectual/spiritual but still evidently thinks pretty highly of himself. However, one interesting part of Kendrick’s presentation is the rapper acknowledging that he’s been intentionally remaining out of the public spotlight as of late.
And in fact this track is the first time we’ve heard from Lamar for a minute, with the last single he dropped as a lead artist being 2018’s “Pray for Me” with The Weeknd. Also interesting to note is that before closing out the second verse, Kendrick namedrops Kanye West. And what he is putting forth in that regard is that whereas Yeezus may have “changed his life” for the better, as for Lamar he’s still the same OG.
Conclusively, outside of Kendrick re-appearing on the music scene, there’s only really two unique aspects of this song. One, as aforementioned, would be the featured vocalists actually being family members. And secondly, both of them drop relatively-lengthy verses. But as for the thesis sentiment it would be akin to the artists, in their respective ways, exalting themselves as the man.
Facts about “Family Ties”
Despite the two vocalists being blood related, “Family Ties”, with a release date of 27 August 2021, marks the first time Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar have actually collaborated in song.
Both artists grew up in Los Angeles though Lamar, who is currently 34, is noticeably older than Baby Keem, who is 14 years his junior.
And to note Keem did participate on the Black Panther soundtrack. This was a 2018 project spearheaded by Lamar, though in a behind-the-scenes’ capacity. Also he is involved in a company Kendrick founded in 2020 called pgLang. This company is also one of the labels behind “Family Ties”. It is actually namedropped a couple of times by K-Dot in his verse.
The other companies that participated in the release of this track are Columbia Records and Top Dawg Records. The latter of course is the label that K-Dot has been signed to throughout his entire career to date.
But that said, a week prior to the release of this track, Lamar did publicly announce that his next album will be the last he drops under Top Dawg. So by the looks of things, whatever project(s) he comes out with afterwards will be under pgLang.
Writing and Production Credits
The two vocalists, as expected, are credited as writers of this song. Baby Keem is also acknowledged as one of its producers. And the other artists who receive both writing and production credit for “Family Ties” are:
- Jasper Harris
- Frankie Bash
The music video to this track was directed by Kevin Rodriguez. It actually features R&B star Normani.