Why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street? When gang-bangin make me kill a n**** blacker than me? Hypocrite!” Kendrick Lamar’s new track finds him in the midst of a snarling flow backed by a vicious beat, wrestling with a contradiction: the African American community he loves is outraged by white oppression, yet their struggles are undermined by every bullet shared between the Bloods and the Crips.
When Lamar dropped his first single, the sugar-coated ‘i’, many fans were puzzled as to when their favourite Compton-raised rapper had become Pharrell Williams. Suddenly, it makes sense: Lamar has constructed a powerful juxtaposition to convey his thoughts on self-love. ‘i’ had Lamar introspecting in a vacuum, allowing him to conclude that he loved himself and his people – after all, “the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice”.
This new single throws him back into a violent reality, where African American unity is lost behind the barrel of a gun – after all, “the blacker the berry, the bigger I shoot”.