Back in January, you might’ve noticed Taylor Swift in the front row at the Grammys putting her famously awkward dance moves on full display while Kendrick Lamar performed “m.A.A.d city” with Imagine Dragons:
Almost a year later, it seems that this was only the beginning of the ways the two stars would express their mutual admiration for each other. In her September Rolling Stone cover story, Swift revealed her trick for how to “immediately go from feeling victimized to feeling awesome”: playing Kendrick’s “Backseat Freestyle,” a song she says she “knows every word [to].”
At the ONE Musicfest in Atlanta later that month, Lamar responded to Swift’s comments while speaking to the Associated Press:
I appreciate Taylor Swift for supporting not only my music but just the hip-hop culture … There’s really no gap. It’s music and it feels good. Some people always try to lock it down and categorize it for one particular listener. But it moves all, even people from other genres.
Lest anyone think Lamar’s appreciation for Swift stops short of her music, this week Lamar reaffirmed his praise for Swift and singled out “Shake It Off” in particular (“I love that song, I ain’t playin’ ”). In an interview with The Fader, he even sang part of the song:
The next morning, while appearing on a Dallas radio show, Lamar was asked to freestyle over the “Shake It Off” instrumental. Naturally, he delivered ("K. Dot, you know that he’s hot/ I can do rhythm, hip-hop/ I can do pop"):
While Swift is perhaps still best known for her clash with Kanye West, this isn’t the first time she’s formed a cross-genre alliance with one of hip-hop’s greatest. In 2011, Nicki Minaj thanked Swift at the American Music Awards for helping making “Super Bass” a hit—before it was a single, Swift had turned her fans onto it by rapping it (somewhat awkwardly) on the radio. Here’s hoping that if Lamar and Swfit ever get in the studio together, they’ll cook up something better than Lamar’s last attempt at collaborating with a major pop star.