Kendrick Lamar: ‘The Blacker the Berry’ Single Review

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With his heavily anticipated follow-up to good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Kendrick Lamar continues to move in premeditated silence. Off of his Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song Grammy victories for “i,”  Lamar delivers something a little more intense than his uplifting single in “The Blacker the Berry.”

Kendrick Lamar highlights the plight of being black in America, citing the hypocrisy that comes with the stereotypes presented in a society built on destroying his community. He’s not immune to speak on socially conscious topics such as gang violence, which is the main metaphor throughout the song. Starting initially as a man that’s proud of his heritage and striking down those that demean his people, the final verse is the picture-perfect swerve of the people he’s defending harming one another (So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street/When gangbanging can make me kill a n**** blacker than me?).  

In light of the Ferguson protests, Eric Garner, and a series of police brutality incidents involving unarmed black men that are killed, Lamar’s stance towards the issue is strikingly divisive. The Compton rapper pleas to those that are outraged by that and should also be standing up for crime within the community. A narrow-minded viewpoint to some, it is how he sees it, and it gives light to his comments on Billboard calling an end to all violence.  

Produced by Boi-1da and Terrace Martin, Lamar’s aggressive approach is highly reminiscent of his “Backseat Freestyle” and the grisly introspection of “m.A.A.d City.” It’s another barn-burner of a track from one of hip-hop’s most talented lyricists that still faces a conflict that surrounds him. With “i” and an “Untitled” track that was premiered beforehand, “Blacker” continues to propel the growing theme to his last album. We all can see that Lamar’s heart is in the right place, though only time will tell that his crusade will alienate listeners going forward. 

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