We continue our serialized analysis of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly by dissecting "Hood Politics."
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to dissect long for musical analysis broken into short digestible episodes. I'm your host call Krishna. Today we continue our serializable ation up to pimp a butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. We're. Currently in the midst of the albums Third act, which we've emerging wings, follows Kendrick, as he searches for an escape from various metaphor. Cocoons of his institutionalize upbringing is new status is rap STAR and prison of his own mind on our through Solidarity and God Kendrick to battle and devices and inner conflicts that led him to depression and suicidal thoughts on for sale were previewed Kendrick subconscious and the mutations of Lucy, the dev, incarnate
Last episode, we examine Mama, a song in which Kendrick returns home in search of clarity, he's nasty logic and reflective in Compton the broader worldview in Africa at the end first three. We saw Kendrick yet again at another crossroads. He's to quote take destiny or rest in peace, the fundamental question, the album poses how magic user pimp a success, his talent for good, for evil. Should he run from destiny? Given to Lucy's temptations and live a life filled with riches, drugs and sex, or did you use destiny papers, situation for the betterment of mankind and become an here for the comptons of the world. It's a question Kendrick is not yet ready to answer, as it sends him into an abstract existential crisis, reflected in the chaotic outro mama. Voucher leads directly into the albums next track and the subs
For today's episode, hood politics, and at the minimal laid back drum and bass groove over which we hear a voicemail on Kendrick's phone
Billy left by a friend from Compton Branch Djindjic's for Anna dresses, Msk DOT, Kendricks Nick former moniker when coming up in Compton we can assume that whomever left the voicemail has known Kendrick for many years. He then Kendrick out for never answering his phone resume Because he's now famous and always on the road questions, how Kendrick has changed from the cat. He once knew wearing no socks and skinny jeans. High fat
the tire. Far from the closed Kendrick Warren's days in Compton it seems to only be lightheartedly giving Kendrick a hard time. The voicemail seems to trigger a reaction and Kendrick through confessions on the song. You we already Kendrick suffers from survival skilled about us escape from the hood and the Voicemail leaves them insecure about his new status as hip hop star. He doesn't want to be thought of as Hollywood or a sell out and hood politik will be Kendrick's way of proving himself to himself after voicemail introduction we hear a series of faint cores that establish is the songs harmonics enter these chords. Sampled from the introduction of Sufjan Stevens, two thousand and ten track offer myself. Comparison sake, well, listen first to an excerpt of the Stevens Track and then immediately listened to the introduction of hood politics.
And now the introduction of Hood politics Ave. After this brief introduction, the song erupts with the slumping beaten hair raising base Kendrick it's the songs hook using a high pitched vocal inflection, Kendrick again playing a character, a younger version of himself and meaning
his voice to personify this character. Well, you what do you? What do you right away? We can see why Kendrick uses an adolescent. Boys his showboating nature of the songs hook is by Kendrick standards in mature, it's the voicemail is left, Kendrick, defensive and he's taking us Back to the mentality of his early days in Compton, he's moving to himself. How he's earned a success and how he stayed true to his roots, not begin I've been a one since day, one Contrast this with everything else being boo, boo A1 is slang for top notch and boo boo slang for shit. Enter continues. This contrast and comparison throughout the hook.
Cause your homeboys, your block, your school hoes, baby, Mama and New Bich. All boo boo from what I can the shots are aimed at no one. In particular, it's the kind of Just by way of insults common to young rappers, again KEN is bringing us back to his adolescent mentality, while growing up in Compton The sentiment is continue with the lines we was in. The hood fourteen with Deuce Deuce referring to himself at age, fourteen running in the streets with a twenty two caliber gun. He then contrast this with the line? Fourteen years later, we going hard like we used to again Kendrick is convincing himself that he's remained true to his roots. That is success, Fourteen years later is not altered as a one foundation. He follows these lines with, on the dead hum he's repeated two times, the first Time, links to the previous line going hard like we used to Kendra, implying that he's going hard and respect to retaliation for his deceased friends. Presumably
killed by hood politics or gang rivalry, get iteration of on the dead homies is similar to the phrase I swear on my mother's grave Kendrick's swearing wearing that his words and sentiments on the hook or true, the song First First finds Kendrick using the same adolescent, high pitch vocal timbre. What they talk about. The first begins. I don't give a about no politics and wrap my little homie, Stunna Deuce ain't, never coming back, it's done this was the nickname of Kendrick Homie Chad Keaton, who Gastar examination of the song. You checking
he was like my little brother. We're going to say, community is actually best. Friends with his older brother which is incarcerated. Right now and him just always telling me to make sure that you know Chad is on the right path. You know he was on the right path, but you know things happen where you know, sometimes the good are in the wrong places, and that's exactly what happened. What happened to her? He got shot. The verse continues. So better go hard. Every time you jump on Wax Phuc. What they talking about, your shirt is where it's at. This is an extension of the sentiment of the concluding lines of the songs hook in which Kendrick State Fourteen years later, going hard like we used to on the dead homies Chad, Kita certainly one of the dead homies that inspires Kendrick, to keep it real on record and uh. The politics in his perception within the rap industry,. The next few lines outlines Kendricks rise from the hood and to rap stardom. You came in this game. You stuck your things in this game. You
chains in this game your hood, your name in this game Kendrick here is proving his authenticity. Stating he wore no chains, accentuates his choice to not wear a rhyme about expensive jewelry. He made his name by talking about real life experiences staying true to his roots and off insights through the struggles of this community, continues with Kendrick developing his authenticity thing. It should extra, which, which Kendrick states fifty and word salute out the competency with the extras and continues to list a series of racial groups, and,
California gangs that support him the phrase the n word salute as a reference to you guessed. It Tupac Shakur above his infamous thug life tattoo across his abdomen tupac, small tattoo of a of forty seven embedded with the phrase. Fifty and word salute the meaning behind the tattoo was one of unity. The black, and perhaps specifically the young African Americans involved in gang violence and black on black crime. Could you across the fifty states of America. It could in army and influence to be reckoned with The division that gangs create within the black community ultimately weakens them or rock was certainly caught up in both hood and hip. Hop politics which would We proved to be his demise. He also spoke didn't of unity and promoted black pride through unity too. Lock struggle between participating in black on black crime, while also advocating for it. Then calls to mind the beginning of to pimp a butterfly is narrative poem,
I remember you was conflicted, but I digress. After a repetition of the songs hook, verse to begin yeah yeah. Everything is Kendrick begin the verse by painting a picture of typical hood politics in the streets of Compton it gets call from a friend who informs him that a rival gang is coming to beef and Kendra he's more than willing to fight portrait of St Life gets a little more abstract, as the first continues. He states everything is everything it's scandalous, slow motion for the ambulance, the project filled with cameras, the LAPD
Gamblin scrabbling football number slandering slum and for the ambulance refers to the low priority of medical attention in the ghettos of Compton. While Eli Gamblin scrambling implies that la oops practice shady judgment when using force Often leads them to scrabbling for a cover up. Including lines of verse, two are among the most quotable lines on the album. Parallels between the hood politics of Compton and the local institutions of the United States. He says is a new gang in town from comp.
To Congress set Trippin all around eight hundred new. But a flu of Democrats and Republicans red state versus a blue state which one you govern in. Of course, the we can red states versus democratic blue states, parallels the colors of rival gangs, bloods and Crips Kendrick live. We combine these two ideas by stating demo crips and re blood against the short sighted often paralyzing political riverly, a red and blue parties contribute the degradation of the people they claim to serve like is the rivalries between urban gangs. Did the same race contribute. The degradation of their neighborhoods. Drake continues to call out the hypocrisy of the government who disavows gangs yeah in park and We did to their provenance. He states Give us guns and drugs cause Stugs thugs, make it their promise to fuck with you no condom. They fuck with you, as we discussed earlier in our very first episode of dissect,
The CIA was involved in supplying LA neighborhoods with guns and cocaine in the 1980s during the war on drugs. The line make it they promised to fuqu. Do I lose to the empty claims of change politicians promised during the election cycle in the line no condom. They fuck with you implies promises are dirty and their behavior. Reckless self serving and shortsighted? First two. Foods that the line Obama say what it do with string. The a brief stuttering, halftime interlude, What it do Bay area slang for what's up metaphor, quoting Obama, saying this having just The previous line make it they promised to fight with you know, condom they fight with you, it seems,
because not exempting Obama the first black president from part of the political gang, the demo Crips having campaigned on the promise of change, which many feel he's failed to deliver a Bama. To is are the political machine of false promises like Hillary. Hot sauce or Trump's red hat. Bombers use of slang is merely a ruse to connect with the targeted demographic to get. Their vote of course, The flip side to this interpretation could be that Obama does genuinely speak their language and had black communities best interest in mind, but the device discordant political landscape made change extremely difficult, if not impossible. Here Mama comes a king Koonta, like figure himself a we have power and constraint emancipated. Yet franchised both master and slave after a rep. Mission of the songs hook. Verse three begins. While verse, one spoke on hood politics and verse. Two spoke on governmental politics. Verse three speaks on hip, hop
I want to talk about this, that they miss we went up but give you did they give them yeah Kendrick begin reverse, outlining the hypocrisy of hip, hop critics who gossip who's real and who's wack, but fail to or real lyrical Mcs like killer MIKE, kill Mike is a rapper and activist from Atlanta GA who first each of the game through a feature on Outkast's Stankonia. Album in the year, two thousand, and Killer MIKE has become a highly respected MC within the hip, hop community, a rapper's rapper, but never quite broken through to the mainstream without getting to sidetrack. Take a listen to an excerpt of the killer MIKE verse from the track Reagan after just interpreting the line, Obama say what it do and the,
mentality of politicians. I think you'll find
excerpt especially relevant to hood politics crises. I don't know why. She's got the money, the privilege of back to Reaganomics economics, not at all the country's real country. It's likely
and shows shows the out killer MIKE specifically on hood politics, because it material on social and political issues and as Frank Garrett pointed out killer MIKE uses the phrase boo boo and several of his songs yes, that's right. Number two is killer. Mike's use of boo boo coincidence, maybe but probably not. Rick is shown to consistently suffuse his lyrics with highly detailed nuanced associations like these throughout his career killer, MIKE Kendrick shot the heart, an honor. He book an interview with MTV. I felt like when a professional ball player compliments another professional ball player. That is- compliment. No one can understand how truly dope that is, unless you're Bob
you know unless you stepped on the court lace up your shoes and had to play is Jordan. You don't understand what a compliment is in joints is yeah. I like that guy, you know he's one of those ones. So for me it was an honor, I'm a big fan of Kendrick. I didn't know he listened to me. I suspect it may be. Did I'm glad it was confirmed in such a huge and complimentary way. I just want to thank him. You know if you're not already a fan of killer MIKE. I hope the side inspires you to check him out turn our attention again to hood politics Kendrick,
his verse three developing as critique of HIPAA politics, I'm the only that connects the snow. The second after this concluding verse, refers specifically to Kendricks industry, shattering feature on the song control by Big Sean, is a birth heard round the world simply known as the control verse. Cause an uproar in the hip hop community by crowning himself, the king in New York, calling out eleven emerging rappers by name and challenging them for the number one spot in hip. Hop
and if you do any better run for her to publish as being greater breaks out the child, that was the best Mc Kitchen, sugar had not him and yell magic. Two thousand the rest of your nipples. Don't get involved, and now he's back in no more designer ship white teens in Nike, Cortez, Red Corvette the first set of fire, the hip hop community
bloggers, radio, DJS in barber shops across the nation, gossip endlessly about the versus impact it so garnered more than twenty response tracks from Mcs It brought an excitement, competition and critical analysis of lyricism. They had long been absent in the hip, hop community and though he found critical acclaim with good kid: mad city, the control, verse, weekly catapulted, Kendrick up hip, Hop's, totem, pole and solidified his place among the best contemporary Mcs. Now some context. Let's listen one more time to the second half of the concluding verse of hood politics, I'm the only that connects the snow.
Detailing the world's response to his control, verse, Kendrick states unless talking about power, I got a lot of it. I'm not n word nexus new. That could push the button. The coast on standby These lines are in direct reference to the controversial line on the king of New York, wrapped on control. The phrase pushed the means to ignite war as the person that commanded the nuclear missile is claiming that him and snoop are the only two on the West Coast with enough power and influence to reignite a 1990s like West Coast versus EAST Coast rivalry, of course, infamous of arrivals were EAST coast, rapper notorious big and the West Coast RAP Tupac Shakur. The beef beyond the booth and both first ended up dead under mysterious circumstances,. Major continues, diverse, alluding to this very feud. With the lines now homie we too sensitive it spill out to the streets. I make the call get the coast involved in history. Repeats Kendrick is Purdue
Being that, if you're really to push the button and read, right. The West Coast EAST Coast viewed some involved be too sensitive to keep it friendly music competition and take the action on the streets and salon spell out to the streets and history repeats. Two avoid the scenario: Kendrick States, the closing lines of the verse, but I IRAS alt inside that private ha by sitting down with J. He said, it's funny how one verse can suck up the game. It seems Dick spoke to EAST Coast Powerhouse Jay Z, to broker some kind of backroom peace treaty between coasts. This is based on a true story, as Kendrick did speak Jay Z after his control verse dropped, as well as NAS to other EAST Coast titans all approve of verse, I believe would be beneficial for contemporary hip hop era. That's been back in the classic rivalries of the past and I really understood
actual change only got to catch that straight down with this past. You know we and then extended that you know that it's not about to close is not about. You know what shyly others about being closely as Bg Ascot, You know the two cats that reference you know from jump. What do I know? You saw Jay, Z, uh. What did Jay? I know- and I and I heard from Deborah that Jay was a fan of the verse. What did Jay tell you. You know, but it was. God loves. I respect you know well Diddy. Yes. I wish you were the only catch. You know I will get up with all that, but and then the day man tell me about her back left culture. You know there's one last clever german. These concluding lines of hood politics, Kendrick States Said it's funny how one verse can fuck up the game the he hears. Jay Z
statement is obviously referring to the reaction caused by Kendrick Control. Verse igniting the rap game, but this high Jay, Z quote, is an actual quote from Jay Z's, one thousand nine hundred and ninety song imaginary players. Black holes in your weak niggaz baby. It's funny how one verse, before the game, before the four we better get to change a no platinum in those guardians. Of course, Jay Z was a part of a major rap feud when he innas battle on wax for nearly a decade beginning in the late 1990s, but rather than ending in tragedy like Biggie and Tupac Jay, Z and NAS Beef never extended beyond the booth, and that would eventually become friends in United on the song black Republicans and make since then that Kendrick would seek the counsel of Jay Z regarding the control frenzy J.
Having been there before and managing to navigate the rap politics without a tragic, ending conclusions. Hood politics concludes with the reinstatement of the first line of the hook, which it collides with the re citation of the narrative poem. Makes additional lines revealed. I remember you was conflicted. Misusing your influence sometime I did the same. Uh huh, Some my power full of resentment turn into a deep depression fat cell, screaming in a hotel room, I didn't want to self destruct
the evils of Lucy was all around me. So I went running for answers until I came home, but that didn't stop survivor's guilt going back and forth, trying to convince myself to scratch that her or maybe I eighty one my foundation was but where my loved ones was fighting. I was entering a new one. Well, the narrative poem typically sets up the song that follows a poem here: Retroactively comments on the themes of hood politics We know the line until I came home applies a Kendricks return to commented on Mama. Then says, but that didn't stop survival skill going back and forth. Trying Convince myself to stripes, I earned or May how a one my foundation was. After receiving a voicemail from a Compton homing calling Kendrick out for never answering his phone dressing differently and apply,
That is forgot about his friends, Kendrick Banfield survivals guilt for leaving Compton, earlier on the album Kendrick was sent into a fit of manic depression by survivals guilt on the song you hear on who politics. He can combats this feeling by attempting to convince himself of the stripes or street credits, earned A1 or authentic is foundation. Is Hood Paula this is a conversation. Kendrick is having with himself reiterating his roots and attempting to prove that he's not caught up in the governmental politics of verse. Two or the pics the rap in verse. Three. Rather, still deeply affected by the hood politics and violence in the streets of Compton. Remember long open with referencing the death of his friend Chad, Keaton AKA, Stena Deuce, In contrast to the sadness and depression on you Kendrick D, with the insecurities caused by survival skill with frustration and anger? when I say these lines,
is for myself. This is there to do for myself, because I still feel the urge- and I still feel that anger and hatred for this man next door because I gotta get a car knowing that somebody on the corner that did this to my partner? I still feel it still feel the hatred. I still feel that that that that ill will to wanted to do something, do you have that in you? Do you feel like you have that in all the time I've only been in this industry Three four years, and I can't I can't get twenty years of me being in the city of Compton. So when I say these. These therapeutic for me is making me remind. I need to respect this man because he's black man not because the colour. Anyway, that's what I mean so. What you can't see here is Kendrick's face when speaking these words, it stop full earn and full of genuine conflict in pain the
between the nostalgic, warm feelings of the previous song Mama and the Angr frustration on hood politics prove that Patrick is still conflicted about his feelings for Compton well. Mama seemed like a step forward towards resolution. Hood politics seems like a step back. Let's listen again to the two lines of the narrative palm that concluded had politics. Well, my love, my nicotine was war back in the city. I was in the new one, what new city is Kendrick entering will find on the album's next track, how much a dollar cost, which will thoroughly examine time, Monday dissect produced by me. Enjoy. What you hear consider rating dissect on Itunes, there's team behind this podcast. It's just me and ratings help. A lot
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Transcript generated on 2019-10-31.