Kendrick Lamar and the rise of the Black Panthers

A fire flared up on the stage where the ghostly red light had just turned off, and Kendrick Lamar appeared, his voice seemed to be cast in steel, his lyrics intense, contemplative, poignant.

Kendrick Lamar. Ảnh: Getty Images

Looking at him at that time, it was hard not to remember the scene where Prince T’challa was crowned emperor beside the majestic waterfall in the blockbuster movie Black Panther.

Kendrick Lamar was once the uncrowned king of the music world. Three times nominated for album of the year at the Grammys, three times he returned empty-handed. But what does that matter?

At the 2018 awards ceremony, when the last name announced was Bruno Mars, the audience thought it was the failure of the Grammys, not the failure of K-Dot (Lamar’s teenage stage name).

Three months later, America corrected his mistake by awarding him the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, officially acknowledging that Lamar’s street hip hop had reached legendary proportions.

Music prophet
Kendrick Lamar's DAMN.: Collaborators & More

How many times have popular artists been ranked on the same level as classical composers? Probably counted on the fingers of one hand. The first time was when BBC readers ranked Paul McCartney as the greatest musician of the millennium (Mozart was second, Bach was sadly third). The second time, this time, was when Lamar, not any other jazz or classical artist, was honored by the Pulitzer for his contributions to music.

If Bob Dylan composes at the level of a master poet, then let’s call Kendrick Lamar a novelist of the gamut, and not an ordinary novelist, he is a novelist with prophetic eyes. like Herman Melville – the man who wrapped American democracy in a white whale.

On Halloween 2014, Kendrick Lamar put on a cloth shirt, put on his long black hair, and dressed up as Jesus. Do you intend to provoke the Catholic community like John Lennon once declared “The Beatles are more famous than Jesus”? No, Lamar doesn’t claim to be the Savior, he just wants to walk in His light.

“We are living in an age where we have eliminated the most important part of all life: God. No one talks about it because it conflicts with what is appearing in the world…” – 30 years old, Kendrick Lamar ponders about a civilization that has stubbornly escaped from the Father’s arms and conceived many barbaric things.

And since no one spoke, Kendrick Lamar spoke. Spring 2017, album DAMN. born. The rest is history.

“Is that evil? Or is it weakness?” – DAMN. begins with a philosophical question about the origin of evil, questioning whether evil comes from external temptations or from internal desires, thereby opening a dramatic story with the main antagonist. Face and protagonist are ambiguous, where darkness and light are mixed, where HUMBLE. (humility) goes hand in hand with PRIDE. (pride), and LOVE. (love) is the twin brother of LUST. (lust).

That inseparable good and evil exists right in God, who has both blessed and cursed people of color at the same time. Throughout DAMN.’s 14 songs, Kendrick frequently quotes Bible parables, exposing the deceptive faith that white people have used to chain black people, making them believe that they are sinners. God’s abandoned children, their fate is to become slaves.
Kendrick Lamar Shouts Out Jay Z & 2 Chainz On Twitter | HipHopDX

“There’s both war and peace in my DNA… I’ve got darkness, evil rotting in my DNA…” – Kendrick wrote in the song DNA. The sage of rap music does not deny the evil part of blood, he does not assert that he is a victim, nor does he believe that he is innocent.

He accepted the pain of black people as part of the karma they had to endure. But, remember that the prophets in the Bible themselves, before receiving the revelation, had committed sins. And the black panthers, as well as the prophets and apostles, will eventually fly.

As a musical product, DAMN. is a revolution in the sound of hip hop. As a novel, it deserves to be classified as a period book. It has the empathy of Toni Morrison, the melancholy of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the foresight of Herman Melville, and the sarcastic smirk of Kurt Vonnegut.

Even the ending of DAMN., the ending about how kindness saves another person, also reminds people of W. Faulkner’s closing of the novel August Sunshine. Even if society grows from evil roots, from it it can still give birth to fruits of hope.

Just stop there, DAMN. has been a towering mountain peak of Rap. But Kendrick Lamar doesn’t just want to be a mountain peak, he also has the ambition to become a mountain peak higher than all the other peaks.

When listening to DAMN. In the opposite direction, the audience was shocked to realize that the old story had collapsed, replaced by a new story, with a gloomy ending of the image of the main character standing on a bridge, killed under the barrel of a gun. two-eyed blind woman.

Kendrick admits his album can be listened to both ways. When heard forward, it ends on an optimistic note, when heard backwards, it closes on a sad note. So what is the real ending that Kendrick Lamar wants? The answer lies in his own lyrics: “You decide. Will we live or will we die?

Once again, Kendrick Lamar poses a metaphysical philosophical tableau. It recalls the movie The Matrix, when Morpheus gives Neo two pills and forces him to choose one: “Take the blue pill – the story ends here, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want.
Take the red pill and you’ll be forever lost in Wonderland, and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, both things are true.” And so, listening to Kendrick’s music, who says hip hop is not an academic genre?

Even more so.

Black tide

Tunisia, the last days of 2010. A little-known rapper posted on his personal account a song expressing his discontent on behalf of cynics: “Mr. President… people have become like like animals… We suffer like dogs.” Thousands of Tunisians later chanted his lyrics while protesting for a better life. Here begins the Arab Spring event.

If in the 1960s, hippies grew their hair long, played guitar, and sang rock to protest war and heal division, today, young people put their faith in hip hop to change the world. The development history of hip hop also has many similarities with rock.

Rock used to belong to the counterculture movement, while hip hop was born on the streets, initially the music of street gangs. Both flourished in a complex political context. Both represent rebellious youth, pursuing righteousness.

Nghệ thuật hip hop của Kendrick Lamar

As rock music gradually declined with the aging of the golden generation, and pop stars remained loyal to composing sentimental and politically indifferent songs, hip hop naturally became a cultural wave. strongest transformation in this century.

Everywhere, colorful graffiti brightens the cities, baggy pants become fashionable, break dance groups flourish, songs by Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne , Kanye West… are played on the street.

Today’s black people are no longer like the naive, fanatical, pitiful, fragile slave Jim that Mark Twain built in Huckleberry Finn. They were arrogant, proud, fierce, courageous and created their own empire.

Kendrick Lamar hints at new album on Instagram with cryptic post | London  Evening Standard | Evening Standard

Or nearly 30 years ago, the legendary Chuck D. said hip hop was born with the mission of becoming a Black CNN channel, a destructive bullet, a force that white people cannot control or rob.

There is a story that at a high school in North Bergen, to teach Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eyes, a teacher used the album To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. The main character in Morrison’s novel is an African-American girl who desires to have blue eyes.

And Kendrick wrote: “The new James Bond will have shiny black skin. Black like crispy fried, like hazelnut, like cinnamon, like black tea. In my eyes, all are equally beautiful.”

It is unknown whether there will ever be a James Bond with skin like a hazelnut, but there is no doubt that the black tide has truly risen, as Paul McCartney fortuitously predicted many years ago. get it through a very beautiful song:

“The black bird sings in the dead of night,

wear broken wings to practice flying.

For that soaring moment, you’ve been waiting all your life.”■


Related Posts

Our Privacy policy - © 2024 News