Kendrick Lamar “The Blacker The Berry”
"I'm African-American/ I'm African/ I'm black as the heart of a fucking Aryan."
Kendrick Lamar is short on qualifiers. This afternoon (Feb. 9), the Compton rapper dropped "The Blacker The Berry," a song presumably from his still-untitled sophomore album on Interscope. "Berry" is unapologetic--"My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide"; "I'm a proud monkey"--and the most militant has sounded on wax or .wav in some time. Over Boi-1da's soul-rattling drums, Kendrick kicks around the idea of "this Black man meant to be special" as a hypocrite, his pride in his origins bumping up against his terrestrial shortcomings. The song ends with a long passage where, after comparing warring African tribes with the gang members who live next door, Kendrick admits, "No matter how much I say I'd like to preach with the Panthers/ Or tell Georgia State Marcus Garvey got all the answers/ Or try to celebrate February like it's my b-day/ Or eat watermelon, chicken and Kool-Aid on weekdays," he's still liable to kill a fellow Black man, a pitfall of the corrosive cultures that surround him.
"The Blacker The Berry" features vocals from Assassin, who guests on "I'm In It" from Kanye West's Yeezus. The cover art is by Italian photographer Giordano Ciprian. It was released by Empire actress Taraji P. Henson, who took to Twitter to call it her favorite song from Kendrick's upcoming album. Nothing about that record has been confirmed by Kendrick, TDE or Interscope, but it appears to be imminent.