Kendrick Lamar LaysDown The Message with New Song: “The Blacker the Berry”

Usually, I let things ruminate before I post them. I sit with my opinions, maybe, I’ll read/listen to what others have to say, and then I write. But, I just listened to the new Kendrick Lamar song, “The Blacker the Berry,” and I need it to be documented on my page NOW.

You know, this blog was supposed to be about Hip Hop: A woman’s perspective on what’s going down in Hip Hop, was the original premise. But, for the past few years, Hip Hop has bored and disappointed me. It hasn’t reflected my perspective or my story, and in most cases, it has simply felt like its given up on itself. Yes, artists like Kendrick Lamar, Azalea Banks, some J Cole, and Common have piqued my interest, but I haven’t been getting what I need from Hip Hop the way I used to.

But, “The Blacker the Berry”….. (biting fist now)

Kendrick Lamar, I salute you. I mean, I’m not surprised that you would be the one to remind us what Hip Hop is supposed to be… but thank you. Thank you for releasing a song that is honest. That’s complicated. That’s ugly. That’s reflective of what’s going on now. “The Blacker the Berry,” captures so much of what I’ve been thinking as I read the news, as I see what’s going on in East Oakland. Thank you for having a message that’s layered and rooted in the hypocrisy of this country. Thank you for understanding your position as an artist, and making your airtime count. Whether people agree with you are not, they’ll listen to what you have to say, and maybe, we can begin begin to have some real dialogue.

Thank you, Kendrick, for being an artist.

2 thoughts on “Kendrick Lamar LaysDown The Message with New Song: “The Blacker the Berry”

  1. I don’t know how I came across this blog, but I like the song and your post. James Baldwin also said that “to be a negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time”. I’m about as white as they come, but this Baldwin quote helps me understand a little better where a lot of the hip-hop music I listen to is coming from. Of course I’ll never know just what it’s like to be a black person, especially someone living in a community like the ones we’ve seen in the news lately where there is a long history of implicit, and sometimes overt discrimination. But I have felt put upon by people in power and the frustration and anger that comes from even this very small version of what black people experience can be all-consuming at times. It’s difficult to imagine the emotional burden of dealing with a system that is stacked against you, not to mention the physical and financial obstacles posed by discrimination. I frankly think that a lot of people hear this kind of song and unfortunately they immediately think ‘thug’ or something like that, but I hope that all of us can work harder to understand one another. I happen to like this song, but even if you don’t, I think the value of considering the art and music and culture of people from different backgrounds has never been more prevalent. This song, like you said, is so honest (not to mention good and smart) I think a lot of people could learn something from it if they consider the human being behind it, and where his powerful words and emotion come from.

    1. Thank you Allen for taking them time to share your thoughts… much of what what you wrote resonates with me. People write off Hip Hop (as well as other genres of music– but especially Hip Hop) as superficial…ignorant… vacant… But, music, as an art form is pivotal to recording what is going on in this time period. Because of artists like Kendrick Lamar, we have a record of how some of us are responding to what is currently going on in our country. He takes is artistry seriously, and I am so grateful for that.

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