The Complex Breakdown of Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry”

K Dot

Just last month rapper Kendrick Lamar spoke out about the events that happened in Ferguson in a feature for Billboard where he faced tons of media scrutiny. Choosing to not stay hush-mouthed on the recent race relations of today, Kendrick put out the single “The Blacker the Berry” where he put his Billboard statement into prospective.

Addressing Stereotypes

“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 d—k is big, my nose is round and wide — You hate me don’t you?”

Institutional Racism

“I mean, it’s evident that I’m irrelevant to society/ That’s what you’re telling me, penitentiary would only hire me/ Curse me till I’m dead. Church me with your fake prophesizing that I’ma be just another slave in my head/ Institutionalize manipulation and lies/ Reciprocation of freedom only live in your eyes/ You hate me don’t you?”

Acknowledgement That Today’s Struggle Pre-Dates Him

“This plot is bigger than me, it’s generational hatred/ It’s genocism, it’s grimy, little justification.”

Parallels to Other Racial Crimes

“It’s funny how Zulu and Xhosa might go to war/ Two tribal armies that want to build and destroy/ Remind me of these Compton Crip gangs that live next door/ Beefin’ with Pirus, only death settle the score.”

The Heart of the Hypocrisy

“So don’t matter how much I say I like to preach with the Panthers/Or tell Georgia State ‘Marcus Garvey got all the answers’/Or try to celebrate February like its my bday/Or eat watermelon, chicken and Kool-Aid on weekdays… So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street?/When gang bangin’ make me kill a n—a blacker than me?Hypocrite!”

By Monique C. Tillman

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