Review of Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry”

Kendrick Lamar just killed the game with the release, a few hours ago, of, “The Blacker the Berry.”  From the title I thought I was finally getting an ode to dark skin women (HA!)  But this was just as good.  Better.  “I’m African American, I’m African, I’m black as the moon/heritage of a small village, pardon my residence. Came from the bottom of mankind/ my hair is nappy, my dick is big my nose is round and wide/you hate me don’t you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture…” WOOO!!!

I’m not sure if he said, “heritage” or “heretic”.  It works either way.   I’ve listened to this song several times over the past two th (4)hours.  Not since the 90s have I heard a rapper go the fuck off with raw pride about his blackness.  I take that back.  Not since Styles P’s “I’m Black”.

His bravado, his confidence, his pure grandiloquence is just…it’s quite sexy.  How old is he again? He’s over 21 right?

I loved the way he freaked this track.  It’s not a beat that I even like, but he murdered it lyrically, so much so that he made me like the beat.

He spoke truth in each line of every verse.  Straight up no chaser, he articulated what I and others feel with no apologies.  Things we say, but no one hears us.  He has the platform and he used it.  “I’m black as the heart of a fucking Aryan/black as the name of Tyrone and Darius”  Son, you’re killing me!  And the coup de gras…  the part that sat me back was his last verse which he ended with “…so why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street, when gangbanging make me kill a nigga blacker than me? Hypocrite” LOVE IT!

He goes from showing the pride, to calling bullshit on whites and blacks.  The hypocrisy of us being mad about others killing us, but then killing each other.  Get it Kendrick!

th (5)To know me, is to know that I don’t subscribe to the term “black on black crime.” Not until white on white crime is equally addressed.  People commit crimes against those closest in proximity to them, which is usually someone of the same color.  But, I definitely acknowledge that since we have an active populous of not all, but enough, whites who hate, fear, loathe, envy, and despise us, that we need to be more humane with each other, since are quick to be inhumane to us.  We’re not going to make it if we keep damaging each other.

Every minority that’s come to this country has had unity and that’s why they make it.  The biggest difference between us and them (which is the difference that makes all the difference in the world) is that they chose to come to this country.  They decide to leave their old world and come to this new one, still with their languages, culture and customs intact, and they use those things to their advantage.  The descendants of Africans enslaved in the Americas did not have that luxury.  We are descendants of various nations that were thrown together and forced to integrate in the face of an oppressor who could care less about our varied heritages. Our languages, cultures and customs were ripped from us, and thusly we developed the truest American culture, African American culture.

Ok, I went deeper into that than I intended.  But that’s what great art causes. Deep thought and long conversations. And make no mistake, this is a work of art.  This is hip hop as I’ve always known it.  An instrument of great thought, emotion and vainglorious verbal slapping.

I can look past that king of NY thing, because when I hear him, his lyrical excellence garners my respect.  The things he says in this song makes me want to put aside every silly disagreement, and just build.  That’s some powerful stuff right there.

I anticipate his new album.  Between this, “I”, and his performance on SNL, I just can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.  He gives me that anticipatory feeling I have whenever I know Nas is dropping something, which is the biggest compliment any rapper can get from me.

And I’m glad he didn’t go to the Grammy’s especially since he won.  I remember when the Grammy’s wouldn’t even let the rap acts on the show.  That was a fat middle finger, with a “rotate on it” stamp.

It’s a little after midnight EST.  I need to get to bed before I write a novella about this song.

Thank you for reading!



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