These posts are about the songs that fell just short of crossing the key line of chart success, entering the Billboard Top 40. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 41.
In the music biz — like anywhere, I suppose — there are offers that a shrewd individual simply doesn’t turn down. For a young rapper working on his first major release, having Kendrick Lamar push through the studio door and offer to guest on a track is a game-changing development. If there are other guests already on that track, and Lamar insists he’s the sole additional performer, well, then there’s a decision to make. Presumably, though, the decision isn’t all that difficult when Lamar is coming off the smash hit album To Pimp a Butterfly, and that’s without the knowledge that the album he’s recording down the hall, Damn, would be an even bigger hit and spawn his first lead-billed single to top the Billboard chart. Rich the Kid decided to scrub the track’s previously recorded guest vocals, by ASAP Ferg and MadeinTYO, and give the microphone to Lamar.
“New Freezer,” the track Lamar guests on, was the obvious choice for lead single from Rich the Kid’s debut album, The World Is Yours. Released several month after Damn and its hit single absolutely exploded, “New Freezer” surely benefited from Lamar’s presence, even if wasn’t quite enough to crack the Top 40. Still, Rich the Kid’s name was made, and he bounded past the magic chart threshold with his next single, “Plug Walk.” And at least “New Freezer” inspired one of those fleeting internet sensations that might have been real and might have been concocted by the label and dutifully reported on by a pliant media in need of constant content. So that’s something.
Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Top 40 Smash Near Misses” tag.