The Message Within Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker The Berry”

As the beat crescendos in with the echoes of intensifying background vocals, the world gains insight into an aura of frustration held among several African Americans.

Kendrick Lamar, a 27-year old hip hop rapper from Compton, California, has a message to be heard. Lamar recently dropped his well anticipated sophomore album “To Pimp A Butterfly” late this March. This album has cultivated Lamar’s message in ways he hoped would bring his listeners together.

In an interview with Terrance Martin from Billboard Magazine he talked about how he enjoys the task of creating each of his albums because he’s able to implement his personal views and thoughts on every track.

“It’s so much of a spiritual process in making the album,” said Lamar, “I have to really feel connected to the music and be into what I’m talking about.”

The album includes a track list of songs that convey his thoughts on political and controversial topics in society today. The track in particular that stood out the most to his fans and the media was, “The Blacker The Berry”, which conveys a powerful message regarding the recent riots across that country that initiated the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The Blacker The Berry is a political statement and a tale of internal struggle,” said Martin in the Billboard interview, “Not only does it describe the dissatisfaction of African Americans in society today, but it also covers the Ferguson Riots from 2014.”

In the beginning of the song Lamar said that as a teenager he realized how African Americans are seen in society. The first verse conveyed the negative impact of racism has made on him. He denounced himself as an American in the phrase “I’m African-American, I’m African”, which illustrates how he feels about not being seen as a part of America.

When emphasizing this point again, Lamar listed the stereotypical characteristics given to African Americans from society. Instead of dismissing the stereotypes Lamar claims and embraces them.

He then communicated his thoughts on the assertion that African Americans will ultimately end up in jail and become new slaves. Through his lyrics Kendrick Lamar states how he is the only master of his fate, and that racism is a form of jealously.

The album views several different meanings that have shaped African American culture. Lamar intended on showcasing a history lesson that is not covered on a daily basis within school communities.

“The overall feel of the album is that it talks about something we were not taught in school. To Pimp A Butterfly means something others would not guess. The word pimp has aggression and butterfly represents the brightness of life.”

With that Lamar wants to bring to light the several attempts made to understand and grasp the true meaning and strength carried by the ancestors of the African American community. In this song Lamar emphasizes his passion to teach generations how to rise above the common stereotypes and change the hypocrisy seen every day in their neighborhoods and on the news.

In the last verse Lamar said, “It’s funny how Zulu and Xhosa might go to war, two tribal armies that want to build and destroy…So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street, when gang banging make me kill a n–a blacker than me, HYPOCRITE!”

It is obvious that Kendrick Lamar is using his platform to create a better world. Thank you Kendrick for everything that you do.

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