Kendrick Lamar – The Blacker The Berry

There were a lot of naysayers and detractors coming Kendrick’s way when he released ‘i‘, and although it was in a different direction than what people were expecting (including myself), he was justly rewarded for the effort, and 2 Grammys were collected as a result of that growth of artistry. Recently, Kendrick came under fire with the Black community because of his comments regarding the likes of Iggy Azalea’s position in Hip Hop, and also when it comes to the incidents like Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and other various incidents involving the murders of unarmed Black people by the hands of White men.

“I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s f—ked 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.” – via Billboard.com

Now, I know that he’s from Compton and has family members all over that are affiliated with gangs, but I didn’t agree with what he said about this in particular. Yes, self-respect is key for uplifting ourselves as a people, but that doesn’t mean that White people (especially White men) will respect us in any kind of way. It’s because we’re Black, period. I’m not going to sit here and defend the comments or make excuses, because there aren’t any to be made. Black people killing each other doesn’t help the argument that other races are justified in murdering us in cold blood, but that’s where it’s conflicting. You get one, but not the other. Black on Black crime will always be an addressed issue, but it’s not the ultimate be all and end all of racial tensions that cause too-often-fatal occurrences. The social commentary that needs to be addressed is being brought up by the right people, with two different strengths of opinion. J. Cole’s performance of Be Free on Late Night with David Letterman was a very powerful moment and he stood up for those who’ve been constantly stepped on. He’s been in the streets with the people, and he gives back.

Kendrick has a different approach to essentially the same end goal. If you go back into the history of his music, he has a song called My People where he calls on Black people to love themselves. This has been a constant topic that was recently displayed in ‘i’, so it’s not a new agenda that’s been put into place. He wants not only Black people to do better, but all people. You can agree to disagree, but the point is that this is a time where Hip Hop is coming into a new prime – from the depths of struggle, creativity prospers. This is not a new struggle, but a reawakened one that’ll produce more social commentary like what Kendrick brings to the table with his new song. It’s been 2 years and change since good kid, m.A.A.d city, and with a tunnel vision approach, it’s going to be a very exciting time when his new album comes through.

Homegrown Toronto talent, Boi-1da, collaborates with Terrace Martin on this new one, and with the hook featuring the likes of Assassin aka Agent Sasco (he was on I’m In It with Kanye), this is one to hold you over before the album comes out. Enjoy.

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