It was SWC who introduced me to Kendrick Lamar, in fact it was via a recommendation in an e-mail a few years ago, in which he said the 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly was a bona-fide classic. I was intrigued enough to go seek out a few tunes on-line, and from that impressed enough to pick up a copy of it, along with its predecessor, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City from 2012.
I had no idea that the young man was a true multi-million selling superstar of the hip-hop/rap genre with a huge following back in the USA and whose name was being increasingly dropped by those who saw themselves as influencers across the media here in the UK. I was just enjoying his music in the same way that I can with many contemporary black musicians, without me having any deep understanding of what he was singing about.
Come 2017, and I read that he was about to release new material. It was something I really looked forward to as it would my first opportunity to pick up on something at the time of its release instead of me looking back. The first of his new songs which was unleashed on a listening public was this:-
Tremendous tune, but……………………..
I was, initially, very shocked. It sounded like an old-fashioned misogynist rant – the sort of stuff that I thought had been driven out of the rap scene, for the most part, in the 21st Century. And from a rapper who had a reputation for dealing with all sorts of injustices and prejudices? Something was totally wrong.
And then, having given myself a shake, aided by grabbing a few views of the promo video, I breathed that almighty sigh of relief.
There’s a review out there by Bianca Giulione which, I think, nails it:-
“….he’s audacious yet self-aware, and just the right level of smug. With just two verses of lyrical invocation at his disposal, Kendrick makes the few hundred words feel like a manifesto.”
DAMN….I wish I could sum up music like that.