Original Version of Kendrick Lamar’s “Element” Leaks, Includes Several Disses

When Kendrick Lamar released his Grammy-winning fourth studio album DAMN. in April 2017, he included “Element” as the fourth song on the track list. Peaking at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song saw Lamar essentially rap about how confident he was in his ability, emphasizing that nobody could “take me out my element.”

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However, six years after “Element” came out, a separate version that Lamar recorded surfaced on Twitter, which included much different “elements” than the one that landed on DAMN. First off, instead of the more toned-down instrumental used on the DAMN. version, the leak sees Kung-Fu Kenny rapping over the fiery beat from “Paramedic!” his 2018 collaboration with California rap group SOB X RBE that landed on the Black Panther soundtrack.

Secondly, as opposed to the subliminal, nonspecific slights that Lamar rattled off at the hip-hop community as a whole on the original “Element,” the rendition leaked on Thursday (September 7) sees him directly diss fellow emcees like Big Sean, French Montana, and Jay Electronica.

Goin’ digital and physical on all y’all
Fuck subliminals, I put you on that roll call
French Montana speakin’ on me in interviews
Very cynical, dry hatin’ somethin’ I don’t approve
Jay Electronica put silencers on my Grammy night
Another dead prophet hopin’ the God’ll give him life
Big Sean keep sneak dissin’, I let it slide
I think his false confidence got him inspired
I can’t make them respect you baby, it’s not my job
You’re finally famous for who you date, not how you rhyme
Cute ass raps, get your puberty up
Then make you a classic album before you come at us
Drake and Meek Mill beef might got you gassed up
But I’m a whole ‘nother beast, I’d really fuck you up

In regards to the French Montana portion, Lamar seems to be responding to Montana’s 2016 song “Wave Gods (Intro),” where he raps Why isn’t street rap selling like Kendrick? But the Jay Electronica and Big Sean insults actually involve a bit of irony and a lot of history.

Back in August 2013, two weeks before releasing his sophomore album Hall of Fame, Big Sean released a single titled “Control,” featuring Lamar and Electronica. On the song, Lamar famously unleashed a dynamic verse where he dissed numerous artists in the rap industry, such as J. Cole, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Tyler, The Creator, and more.

[RELATED: Kendrick Lamar Joins Beyoncé on Stage for “America Has A Problem” Remix]

So, fast-forward a bit to 2017, it seems that Lamar had a few bones to pick with his “Control” collaborators. In the case of Sean, it likely stems from his verse on his 2016 single “No More Interviews,” where he insinuates that Lamar is overrated.

And I’m just not impressed by you n****s rapping fast
Who sound like one big asthma attack but trash when I’m rapping it back
Who you put in your top five and claim they the savior of rap

Sean would double down on this in February 2017, when he hopped on DJ Khaled’s “On Everything” alongside Travis Scott. Referencing his 2016 collaboration with Lamar titled “Holy Key,” which landed on Khaled’s album Major Key, Sean signaled that Khaled pledged his loyalty to him over Lamar.

I’m on track to a billi’, I got Khaled fuckin’ with me
That mean I got the Holy Key and got the key to the city, lil n***a

A month later, Lamar would finally issue a response on his track “The Heart Part 4,” released a month before DAMN. On the song, while refraining from including Sean’s name, Lamar asserts that Sean would never “walk the walk.”

My fans can’t wait for me to son ya punk-ass
And crush ya whole lil’ shit
I’ll Big Pun ya punk-ass, you a scared lil’ bitch
Tiptoein’ around my name, n***a, you lame
And when I get at you, homie
Don’t you just tell me you was just playin’
“Oh, I was just playin’, K-Dot
C’mon, you know a n***a rock witchu, bro”

Though this feud captured the attention of the hip-hop world for nearly a year, and evidently angered Lamar enough to record an alternate version of “Element,” the two emcees have since made up. Confirming their reconciliation in a verse from his 2020 single “Deep Reverence,” Sean asserted that the beef stemmed from “a lack of communication.”

After what happened to Nipsey, I reached out to Kendrick
It wasn’t even no real issues there to begin with
Lack of communication and wrong information
From people fueled by their ego, it’s like mixin’ flames with diesel

Check out the “Element” leak below.

Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns

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