By Rob Markman
Rozay billed it as the “biggest collaboration in hip-hop,” and on Thursday (July 19), New York DJ Funkmaster Flex got the green light to premierethe highly anticipated track. From the top of the dusty-and-soulful Jake One instrumental, Dr. Dre brands “3 Kings” as “classic hip-hop.”
Though it’s hard to imagine a time when the D-R-E wasn’t on top, theChronic producer reminds listeners of his wonder years when he opens the track spitting, “He started out mopping floors, but now he’s front row at the awards.” Still, Dre’s recounting of his humble beginnings only helps to intensify the magnitude of his present when he urges fans, “You should listen to this beat through my headphones.”
There is no hook or catchy chorus, just a bottom-heavy instrumental breakdown that leads into Ross’ guts and glory. “I came a long way from the weed game/ Twenty-stack seats at the Heat game,” he rhymes, sending a nod to the 2012 NBA champions.
The entire song stands as a testament to Ross’ growth. While the Maybach Music Bawse was laying the groundwork for his recent rap empire with his 2006 debut, Port of Miami, and its follow-up, Trilla, few believed the husky-voiced MC would grow to his current stature. Back then, placing both Dr. Dre and Jay-Z on a single track seemed improbable for Ross, and having the gall to name the track “3 Kings” would have been ludicrous. Now, the notion isn’t farfetched by any means, seeing as how the Teflon Don has emerged as one of the game’s biggest draws and business minds, helping build the careers of young artists like Meek Mill and Wale. It’s a position both Dre and Jay-Z have long enjoyed, and on Hov’s verse, he doesn’t let fans forget it.
“It’s just different,” Hov says of his free-associative verse, which sounds perfectly imperfect.
“Millions on the wall in all my rooms/ N—as couldn’t f— with my daughter’s room,” Big Poppa Hov says, nodding to baby Blue Ivy.
As rich as that may sound, Jigga gets even gaudier. If his rhymes ring true, Jay is about to reconstruct his $150 million deal with Live Nation, and while the method is a bit unorthodox, it seems he is using his lyrics in the negotiation process. “I ran through that buck-fifty Live Nation fronted me/ They workin’ on another deal, they talkin’ 250/ I’m holdin’ out for three/ Two-seventy-five and I just might agree,” he spits.
All hail the kings!