By: Elorm Nutakor
The day after Beyoncé surprisingly did not receive album of the year at the Grammys, Kendrick Lamar released a new song. Since just about every music blog and their mamma is going to rip this song a new one, this post isn’t just about showcasing a new song. It’s more so about affirming a song that is important and relevant. I’ll just speak my piece before consulting the oracle (better known as Rap Genius).
I was caught off guard when I first hit the play button on “The Blacker the Berry” because of the “I” and the song that Kendrick performed on the Colbert Report. While the previous two songs featured lighter production with soul samples and live instrumentation, the production on this song is dark and aggressive with boom bap drums and haunting background melodies. The song ends with jazzier instrumentation, courtesy of Terrance Martin, but before this happens listeners are treated to an “in your face” Kendrick Lamar and a couple hooks from Assassin (the dancehall artist who is also featured in Kanye West’s “I’m In It”).
On “The Blacker the Berry”, Kendrick Lamar declares: “I am the biggest hypocrite of 2015,” so it’s only fitting that the song touches on many contradictions and cross culture parallels. For example, Kendrick talks about the experience of being black in the United States and much of what comes with it, from his point of view. The song also goes on to relate warring African tribes to the conflict between Crips and Bloods. This and much more social commentary can be found Kendrick’s new release. It’s as if Kendrick has gone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Malcolm X in a matter of months.
“The Blacker the Berry” makes me want to throw up a black power fist while parading through campus. Regardless, Kendrick still calls for peace through irony and delivers a thought provoking song. So for those whose narcissism meters were already on full blast before “I” released, this might be more of what you were looking for.