Song of The Day: Kendrick Lamar “The Blacker The Berry”

kendrick lamar

Over a month ago, Kendrick Lamar got criticized for his comments on Ferguson that he told Billboard Magazine.

“I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s fucked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”

This unleashed a tirade of negative comments from “Black” Twitter led by notorious trash-talking Twitter queen, Azealia Banks, calling Lamar’s comments as the “Dumbest shit I’ve ever heard a black man say.”

Exactly one month thereafter, to the day, Lamar responds with a new song called, “The Blacker The Berry.” The powerfully crafted song is as complex as the subject matter in question. Pulitzer prize winning writer, Michael Chabon annotated Lamar’s lyrics on Chabon pointed out that Lamar used a rhetorical device, much like Common did in the song “I Used to Love H.E.R.”. Common makes the listener think that the object of affection was an old girlfriend, but by the end, the H.E.R. is actually Hip-hop. Chabon states that Lamar starts every verse with “I’m the biggest hypocrite of 2015” leading the listener to believe that all the dark hypocritical pictures he paints are of himself. But by the time we reach the final couplet, you realize that the “I” isn’t only referring to Lamar but to the entire community as well. Chabon then concludes, “This revelation forces the listener to a deeper and broader understanding of the song’s “you”, and to consider the possibility that “hypocrisy” is, in certain situations, a much more complicated moral position than is generally allowed, and perhaps an inevitable one.”

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