“The Hillbillies” by Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar
“The Hillbillies” came out as a surprise release, initially via the YouTube channel of pgLang, on 30 May 2023. Besides for pgLang – the label Kendrick Lamar founded a few years back which most notably features himself and Baby Keem on the roster – the issuance of this track is also being backed by Columbia Records. And for readers who may not know, Keem is actually the little cousin of Kendrick, with the latter putting on the former. So the two have dropped a number of collaborations in the past.
The Writers of “The Hillbillies”
This track was produced exclusively by a hip-hop artist from Yonkers known as EvilGiane. He also co-wrote the song with the following:
- Kendrick Lamar
- Baby Keem
- Justin Vernon
- Alabaster dePlume
- BJ Burton
- Jim-E Stack
- Kacy Hill
- Michael Lewis
- Rob Moose
The last seven names on that list are credited because “The Hillbillies” samples 2020’s “PDLIF” by Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon), which they also co-wrote.
Meanwhile, the director of the track’s music video is Neal Farmer. And it has also been firmly pointed out by a number of outlets that Tyler, the Creator – a rapper who, as with the two vocalists at hand, hails from Los Angeles – makes a cameo appearance therein. Also to note, the speculation at this time (according to Genius) is that The Hillbillies will be featured on a forthcoming Baby Keem album titled EerieTimes.
It appears that for the time being, such as with his recent participation on the remix of Beyoncé’s hit song “America Has a Problem“, that K-Dot has taken off his conscious-rap hat to rather engage in some standard hip-hop braggadocio.
And so it is with “The Hillbillies” which, first of all, it’s not clear why the song is named so. Upon hearing the word “hillbilly”, we usually think of someone living a rugged lifestyle up in the mountains. But by contrast, on this song we are met with the likes of rappers bragging about being the “best dressed” and possessing the ability to “eat caviar” at will.
Relatedly, most of the boasting featured herein can be considered wealth-based. For example, Dot and Keem have respectively taken on the monikers of “Messi” and “Neymar”, after the famous football players of course, undoubtedly because said athletes are ridiculously rich (and successful).
And the third verse especially has this I’m-richer-than-you-are tone to it, such as the cousins claiming the wherewithal to lend each other “2 million” and not even expect to be repaid, because they got it like that.
Besides the references to riches, the vocalists also use the occasion of this track, such as its chorus, to point to their influence and mastery over women.
So conclusively, the lyrics and message of this track are pretty run-of-the-mill as far as rap songs go, and we know that Kendrick especially can do better when he pushes himself. So by the time all is said and done, “The Hillbillies” comes off as the type of single that the rappers dropped just as a reminder, so to speak, that they are still very much in the game.