In light of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly once again landing on the Apple Music Top 100 charts, it feels appropriate to revisit one of the album's most poignant singles. Five years removed from its initial release, "The Blacker The Berry" continues to resonate as strongly as it did initially; the simmering aggression, the powerful lyrics, and the tense instrumental from Boi-1da coalesce to effectively capture the spirit of a frustrated community. One who has been fighting a seemingly endless fight. Set against the backdrop of the George Floyd protests, "The Blacker The Berry" feels like an anthem for the times.
Much has already been made of Kendrick's songwriting, which comes alive over the haunting production. "Came from the bottom of mankind, My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide," he raps, the venom in his cadence scathing. "You hate me don't you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture." Sadly, there remain many to whom Kendrick's lines are applicable, those like Derek Chauvin who look down on the Black community. But if one thing can be gleaned from the tragic murder of George Floyd, it's that people will no longer stand for these injustices.
"The Blacker The Berry" captures it all. The anger. The frustration. The power. The confidence. A brilliant piece of writing and performance from a generational talent. It's no surprise that thousands of people have filled the YouTube comments with observations of its current-day impact. Take a moment to revisit this one and let it sink in. Rest in peace George Floyd.
I'm the biggest hypocrite of two-thousand-fifteen
Once I finish this, witnesses will convey just what I mean
I mean, it's evident that I'm irrelevant to society
That's what you're tellin' me, penitentiary would only hire me
Curse me 'til I'm dead, church me with your fake prophesizing
That I'ma be just another slave in my head
Institutionalized manipulation and lies
Reciprocation of freedom only live in your eyes