Kendrick Lamar Emerges With A Potent Commentary On Being Black In 2015 (Audio)
With “i” winning two Grammy Awards last night (February 8), Kendrick Lamar advances the conversation with the second song from his sophomore major label album. “The Blacker The Berry,” is a dense, inward look at being Black in 2015.
The song pulls no punches about hatred in the world, both from other races—as well as the apparent hypocrisy K-Dot refers to in the Boi-1da-produced song’s bridge. Kendrick appears to be reacting to the last year, and the ongoing dialogue regarding race, and race relations in America. The lyrics mention the stereotypes, institutional racism, generational hatred, and the “fear of a Black planet.” Although the song analyzes Black-on-Black crime in the end (beyond the shores of the United States), the bulk of this song will surely go down as some of Lamar’s most pungent, abrasive, and quoteable bars since “Control.”
With allusions to sports, politics, Ice-T, 2Pac (down to the title), Ferguson, and so much more, this song is intricate concept, and by its end, seems to strongly relate to “i.” Although laced by one of Drake’s right-hand hit-makers, the raucous grit of the song, along with the sampling and Dancehall elements, seems to have a Yeezus feel to it.
As Heads continue to debate the absence of the messages and resonance of the Public Enemy’s, N.W.A.’s, and Boogie Down Productions, do we have it? Is Kendrick Lamar—seemingly the most far-reaching insightful voice of Rap’s last three years giving Heads just what we’ve clamored for? Is this the record that does it?
With ongoing discussion of Black artistry in the wake of events like the Grammy Awards—which Kendrick, ScHoolboy Q, and the rest of Top Dawg Entertainment seemingly did not attend despite nominations and awards, do you think the timing is intentional?