5 Reasons Kendrick Lamar’s New Single is Everything
I usually don’t listen to a lot of mainstream hip-hop. At least not critically. I’ll twerk summn to some ignorant mainstream rap while I get ready for work or after a couple of whiskey sours on a Saturday night. But most of the hip-hop I listen to is local. That’s why I’m a few hours late listening to this new Kendrick Lamar track. I wasn’t all that pressed, but reading everyone’s tweets and statuses piqued my curiosity.
I pay attention to who says what about what. Usually there’s a split somewhere. Black vs white opinion, male vs female opinion, old vs young, etc. Today I saw a distinct split between my enlightened friends and those who I can only converse with about random BS. When my enlightened friends talk about what they like, I go and check it out for myself. Today, like most times, it turns out I like it too. Why? Well…..
1. “Who’s That Lady” by The Isley Brothers has always been a cut. I love that song. I used to walk around singing it when I was a kid. Kendrick’s track samples it in all the best ways. Some samples don’t work that well, but dude nailed it. The guitar goes perfectly with his voice and the tempo makes for a catchy tune. Yes, the song is currently stuck in my head to the point that I’m typing each letter to the beat.
2. I keep reading people say the song is “different” but as mentioned above it’s not that different. It’s not that new and innovative. It’s taking hip-hop back to its roots. Hip-hop comes from soul music. The likes of James Brown, Parliament, and The Isley Brothers are the founding fathers of hip-hop. Before hip-hop was about booty, blunts, and bling, it was about being funky, getting down and standing for something. If you think this track is “different” you’re young. Go listen to some of your grandaddy’s vinyls.
3. Ok, ok, ok. It IS different in the sense that it’s different from most mainstream hip-hop that the mindless consumers eat up. You can’t twerk to it. I doubt there will be big booty hoes in the music videos. You actually have to listen to the lyrics (and can understand them). And it has a message. A damn good one at that. It’s honestly very reminiscent of a lot of the local music I listen to from cats like The Resistance.
4. Kendrick gives us all a wake up call with his message of self-love. And not in the Kanye West “My shit don’t stank because I can afford to make it do that” kind of way. The song promotes love, not vanity, not conceit, not trashy “my body is mine so I can be a hoe if I want” type of bull either. Love yourself before you try doing anything else in life. Before trying to create or help others be great, you have to look in the mirror and love who you see.
It’s painfully honest and exactly what the Black community needs to hear. With all the mess going on in the world, we need artists who have the spotlight to speak up and lead us. He speaks of depression, violence, struggle and the like. We’ve been asking our celebrities to lend their voices to our struggle and he is joining others like Talib Kweli and David Banner who may not be helping you all shake your asses, but are certainly trying to help you get them together. Just listen. On repeat. Every morning. Every night. Whenever you get frustrated with life. Play it. See how it changes your mood up.
5. Aside from a word or two which will be easily edited out, I can let my kids listen to it. I wouldn’t mind them running around reciting “I love myself.” It’s damn sure a whole lot better than “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun.” Thanks to whoever let them listen to that mess when I wasn’t around.
All I’m saying is y’all can talk mess about this track all you want, but I’d rather have this going out as a representation of both the hip-hop and Black communities than 95% of the other garbage y’all love. Call me crazy, but positive is always more appealing than the negative.