We continue our serialized analysis of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly by dissecting "i."
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to dissect long for musical analysis broken in the short digestible episodes. I'm your host coca. Today we continue our sear examination of temper butterfly by Kendrick Lamar Part, the song I, if you ever part one I'd suggest stopping now and listening to that episode first, there. We examined the studio version of I thou. First single, really six months prior to the paper, butterflies debut. I, as a straightforward self, affirming anthem for the disenchanted the depressed and incarcerated the song built around the refrain. I love myself, which kendrick
Unabashedly screams on songs hook this outright statement of self love. An affirmation is a long way from eyes. Narrative counterpart, you manic drunken DEC duration of self hate, anxiety and depression heard earlier, the album Swedes is frequently rest and all you want to read that boy say this page with you and you don't sleep which everything is within the context of the Alps narrative eyes, the pinnacle of contracts, emotional and spiritual transformation from nine.
Self loathing rapporteur, firming self, loving leader. This was his weight theme for me. Person for this album is. This is really leadership. How can I use it were better off that's what money and what my celebrity? How can I use it? How can I pimp it? Can I pay for negative negativity off? Can I pay for it in a positive way? For me, the shore, when I go to show what I've been with you you coming all the way back to eye, and I still allow myself at the end of the day Why don't I had an honor, the studio single version of I could have easily acted, as our narrative climax can chickens ed chose to use a cordon quote, live performance of the song on to a butterfly for those familiar with the studio single hearing the lie version on the out with a somewhat jarring experience. Of course Edric knew this would happen is using a lie. Version is strategic, referential appropriation, the reasons which will become clear by the end of today's episode
down. Version of I begins at the tail end of the previous track. You ain't gonna, lie. Mamma said this fades, and we slowly began to hear murmurings of a crowd soon man is heard, and we get impression that were now in attendance at alive show. Come on we're body. I ran the heightened quite literally sets a stage. after a series of MIKE checks, he says, quote we're bringing nobody, nobody, nobody, but the number one wrapper in the world he says nobody three times, of course,
know by now. That is unlikely. Kendrick would chooses arbitrarily, as we do ass, numerous times throughout the season, so to the Alps has been the theme of contracting duality here. Jack asserts humility with confidence, as emphasis nobody is contrasted with the number one wrapper and the world for me, a sea, small details that display contracts, mastery of form and a reason to a butterfly demands and stands up to intense scrutiny. The high may continue he done travelled all over the world? He came back just to give you some game all the little boys and girls come up here. This is for you of course, This refers to contracts, pivotal trip to South Africa were Kendrick, wasn't fired by his historical roots and felt compelled the return to his home town of Compton to alight is how these are quote: give them some game. He also services Fifthly, draws attention to the youth, in the crowd, of course, about of the future and says As for you, Kendrick takes us,
age and begins the introductory verse of I. by the songs hook. Tat of a nation, but I knew tat. I never want to put me in a boat tat. Nobody don't go around, so many went down down on a majority government. Hendricks vocal intimidation is much more energetic and aggressive. What compared to restrain childlike performance of the studio single while lyrically. The two versions are pretty much the same There are some changes made to the songs hook between the refrain. I love myself studio Single Kendrick says the world is a ghetto with big guns and pick it signs.
It can do what it why whenever it want, I don't mind. He says he How to get up life is more than suicide. One day at a time, son going I had to pay the lie performance Hendrick says when you look at me, what do you see? I put a bullet the back of the head back of the head of the Bali aluminum by the hand of God boy. Don't seem shy one day at a time, triangle shine as we listen pay close attention to the line back at the back of the head of the bully and ask yourself if you hear bully
police. So what do you hear when Kendrick says back of the head fully or police and one more one more time. I've listened to this numerous times think he says, bully for the longest time believe This time believed he said. Police sir The Bali with more obviously fit the song central theme of defeating negative energy, with positivity and self love, of course, police good work is well though the latter would come across pretty explicit and saw rooted in so much positivity and its author completely plausible to think Kendrick purposely pronounced the word, so it could be heard either way, as in places like Compton.
Some of the biggest neighbor had bullies are police officers. I continues with no real lyrical differences of note, aside from a few draw words and add lips we'll go ahead and listen to this large chunk of the song until a fight breaks out in the crowd and Kendrick stops the performance
in the street level, but he's gonna put know what I mean. I don't know. I don't want to see these days for station face. This poster is reasonably energy bills team in a place senators and find out we now let me mother, fucking ass, now attend my passion for mostly led to voice my support companies. What do you want from me? I must guide us everybody covered in everybody that cover gave many german participants inanimate how many down this indeed becoming promises. So I promised this newcomer to. I want to ask what adequate we're gonna bet it coming towards him. Like you know, I want to ask a question about: doesn't academic the present academically, the messenger condemning after
argument in the crowd escalates Kendrick stops us performance midway through the songs third verse interesting lay the last words he performed before fading off our lay my body, The full line on the studio version of eye is lay my body the street, which of course of an image of a dead body. It's quite subliminal message as a fight. The crowd is itself a metaphor for the complex within the black community partition. The gang rivalry. Second, quite literally, leave dead bodies in the street Kendrick work. To regain control the crowd, as the song now skit continues to. Fiji is terribly afraid. the USA, China pledged to do I'm in a negative way.
Yeah yeah, I'm and we lost not realizing how many negative will arouse Bro this year alone. Exactly so we got down to waste time on middle. Maybe it's gonna make jumbo make time. You know that the judgment Downright may term sorting, If we become, I appreciate the low, but unless we got left on a data we gotta. Do you know tat you no man is mandatory, is mandatory, and I say this because the money. no said Sandy he'll, be back just show me wrongs that she petty minded
I checked my check my check. My chair might do smock apprenticeship before. Would you bet your mandate? Has this solution? Is a promise Dave? I never used. The phrase is a big country. Says not on my time we can save that shit for the streets. We can save that shit. This is for the kids here. It stresses the importance of communal gatherings centred around music is upset that the purity of the event has been tainted by a fight Kendrick, then Twenty fifteen Edward tired of playing the victim dog here address is alluding to the idea of black victim ology. Some within black community feel like clockwork playing the victim. That dwelling on past injustices and racism against the black community. Only to paralyse the progress of black people. Opponents of this thinking if that skimming over the past and present injustices will allow them to thrive in the future
believe Kendrick, meaning behind the lion. Tired of playing the victim is clear, I'd, buy what he says in the subsequent lines. He says to to How many and words we done lost union have We D lost later Kendrick said. this year alone exactly to react. Time to waste time here, Jack is drawing the crowds attention to the deaths of young black men. Do the gang violence. He says we ain't got time to waste time directly. Address in the fight in the crowd as a petty waste of time. The fine, the crowds of or a symbolic of the gang violence in the streets of captain and all that cities like Compton, it seems like feels like a on black violence, regardless of his possible origins, is a tragic of energy energy, can be utilised unifying the black community, so they can better combat, larger issues plaguing their community. This is backed up with contracts next line. The judge make time you know that the judge make time
the judges, symbolic of the? U S, justice system a system that is controlled by majority white men. Currently, Eighty per cent of all criminal state judges are white, while sixty eight percent. Of defendants are black or latino literally makes time or prison sentences. Thus, try the fate of millions of black Americans. Jack then says the judge make time, so it ain't shit and should be shit, us to come out here and appreciate the little bit of life we got left. Kendrick cannot see, point of tarnishing what could be a positive celebration. Unification of there Peter released through music, with a petty scrap. Edric than attempts to redirect the crowds attention back to the performance. He loves them all, and then he joined perform some archipelago before getting back into the music. but before we move on to the archipelago, peace, I wonder in doubt. Yet another call back to contracts previous album, good kid mad city, when asking
how many people they ve lost. He specifically addresses two men: two and yet again. Liza JANET pledged to do I'm innovative yeah yeah I'm and we lost not realise how many negative many niggars with Bro this year alone we heard the name janius appearing on the song, mad city from the narrative of good kid, bad city will get lucky. I doubt godly waving the window tat you do too is a name mentioned on Kendrick Lamar's interlude from absolute album these days as well. into the excerpt pay attention to them. Minivan reference, these nay my command, minivan, meaningful to Maxie no binding or that, of course, the minivan was the vehicle featured throughout good kid mad city and hear Kendrick Toxic perfectly about the incident of hopping out of many men to shoot
Retaliation shots at arrival gain something here. Oconnor alluded to in several checks on I Kendrick speed. Directly to union and to do, although we can't of the two are still involved in getting politics in Compton, based on the card x and Kendrick work we can assume they happened in the past, He has a message for them and all the black community in Compton to get an overall picture of the dramatic effect the archipelago peace Kendrick performs we're going to Listen to it and for as we list notice how Kendrick words and messaging penetrate the noisy crowd. Now the event They fall silent I promised Dave. I never used the phrase think about what you think Nicholas. No, This family were known to Jane, go no better than a way Man was slain boats, so I can needed so so search might perhaps we some game, a real person retracing steps on what they never taught me. Do you
work fast before government caught me, so I'm dead take this one first to Opera for Mississippi of inward controllers, so many artists gave her an explanation. Aulis with this is my explanation: Straightfor beat the opium in gee you s definition royalty king poet, wait! Listen, in each Eu S description black rocky rule, and then let me finish, the history books overlooked the world and that is to make it to our divided dombes? Don't recognize we re using the wrong. So am I get down and put my came in a song it Gee you s, say wit, me say no more black stars. You can't make me take it from Opel. Where free tell us, she ran on Time conjugal Lamar by far really sneakers. Allow this the pivotal moment up the album. The dramatic apex of two pepper, butterfly Six words put an end to the scuffle. In the crowd a metaphor,
for black black gang violence and inner cities like Compton Candy, is putting on display the power of music, positive energy, honesty, self acceptance, unity and genuine pride. With this in mind, let's breakdown this AKA Pella performance, piece by piece, beginning with opening minds- a promise Dave. I never used the phrase fuck He sat back about what you said. Nicholas no the family were known to Jane, go no better a white man was slain boats, so I needed so so search my. how came some game a real person? We train steps on what they never taught me. The amount of work fast before cover me caught me country, and telling us that quote. I promise Dave. I never used the phrase fuck and word he said things. But what you saying, FUCK Edwards, Kendrick introduces the subject of his aka peloponnese contempt.
The function of the Edward, as used by African Americans, a fuck and word or fat boy, for a poster someone who friends like something there not Kendrick, spread Dave seems to take offence to the phrase which is dead: a Tory when interpreted literally, it's not who Davis or to highly likely candidates. One is Dave the president of TV. The label Kendrick assigned to the others Dave drugs friend who was shot in the narrative of good kid bad city. Given the call back together, it throughout the album as well? calling out to to any idea just seconds before. On I remind us, in is referring to his decease friend Dave continues, no better than Samuel out Jingo here, referring to Samuel L, Jackson's character and Quint Argentina, Philip Jangle, unchained Jack, It plays a house slave who is very close to his master and, despite being black like a slave owner and sees other black people as beneath him.
Kendrick then says no better than a white man with sleigh boats, Jackson's jangle character. white slave traders, both have a fuck Edward mentality, The phrase seems unsettling the Kendrick and inspires to rethink its position on the Edward as the next is sound like I needed some soul searching. your continues, my pops gave me some game and real person. These The phrase real person is clever as little lose to yet another call back to good kid. Mad city if you remember on the Arabs, conclusive saw real contracts. Father left him, a voice mail that defined his thoughts on what a real Edward was
I don't know. Maybe you need to get away. I don't like your really really really really tell your mother of God. Maybe next Kendrick says retrace my steps on what they never taught me did my homework fast before government caught me. you will soon redefined the Edward based on research not taught in school and applies information being purposely omitted from history books to keep the black community oppressed It continues the verse of their dedication to upper Winfrey. So I'm dead take this one first to Oprah, infamous systematic in where controls. So many artists gave her an explanation. Aulis with this is my explanation: straightforward, the opium in gee. You s, death access to dedicate this one verse to opera on how they
infamous, sensitive Edward Control, us some The artist gave her an explanation to hold us well. This is explanation straight from Ethiopia. Its well known that talk, show host Opera Winfrey is adamantly against the use of the Edward in any context. In interviews The wrappers like Jazzy she's, brought up here, pops prolific user, the Edward Cell, been known for not being a big fan of rap music because of messages lyrics and because of the use of the inward and in the magazine we discussed the use of the inward and why I feel everybody knows that. I feel that we shouldn't be. You know thing in the inward. You obviously feel differently and global movement.
And tat tell everybody why what we are discussing is is more words. People give words power gap in for our generation. What we did was we took the word and we took the power out of that word, who you know. We turn a word that was very ugly and hurtful until a term of endemic. So I'm even when someone says, is still intention behind what you say, but I m pretty much took the power out of the word, because if we just stop removing word, some dictionary just make up another word the next day. So we don't address the problem. The problem is racism right, that's really the problem. So when we disagree, yeah of course, ceremony intricacies and differing beliefs about the use of the Edward in the black community, there seems to be two basic positions. Opponents do not like its use in any context, as I feel it history behind the work cannot be removed,
You choose to use the Edward assert their reclaiming it taken the power out of a historically derogatory term, which, therefore, in Paris, a user liberating on their differing positions Jesse once said, quote Oprah, for instance, still can't past the Edward issue. I can respect her position her. It's a matter of acknowledging the deep and painful history of the word to me. Just a word, our his powers owned by the user and his or her intention people if worse to power, so banning a word is futile. Really, the Edward becomes porch monkey because school and so on? If that's? What's in a person's heart, the keys to change the person we change people through conversation, not through censorship on I Kendrick chooses to quote put my game in the sun, and give his explanation quote straight from Ethiopia, E g? U S definition: royalty king poet, wait! Listen! in e g. U S description black
rocky rule, and then let me finish by history. Books overlooked the world, an anti American. To make it to our divided dombes, don't recognize we re using the wrong, so am I get down and put my came in a song in gee, you s, say, whip me or say no more black stars. You can't make me take it from Opel. We're free tell us. She ran on time, Kendrick Lamar by far really sneakers, alas Hendricks This is based on the ethiopian word for king, which he pronounced, knickers spell any gee. You ass The accounts. I've read, the ethiopian pronunciation is dug use, Kendrick, says the history books overlooked the word and hide it. America tried to make it House divided Kendrick is up. That the origin of the Edward as easy opium word for King Negus flavour There is then took the power from this word and made it. A pejorative. Kendrick is now attempting to restore the power back research
the historical origins of the Edward proves to be a difficult endeavour. There are several possible explanations and even a university professor, who teaches an entire course on the word. Didn t to feel entirely confident in the version he ascribes to the most when they taught history of the inward is a variation or perhaps Miss renunciation of the spanish word for black negro and the now Gerardo where a french word knee grey, The word first appeared in English prynne fifteen. Seventy seven spelled- and I d are with the first and I d Gee are spelling appearing in sixteen O. Eight, The word was used neutrally until the seventeen Seventys when it began to be used. As the pejorative of to Is it perhaps most abrasive word in the english language? the version of history Kendrick is referring to in his aka Peloponnese seems to be more an oral history. I can't find a quota scholarly source that tracks are direct lineage of niggers to the Edward and is perhaps this lack of
economic backing that Kendrick referred to in his line. The history books overlooked the word and hide it. The ancient egyptian word Andrew spelled Angie are means, God its powers boy that, from this word, came a number of words at delineate reality like the ethiopian Ni Gash, meaning King exerts, a word and quasi meaning God and, of course, Negus. With Kendrick freshly inspired by his trip to Africa, If to assume, is attempting to reconnect, is african routes and answer. Free those systematically torn from black people living in America this weekend with africa- has alluded to in the use of the phrase black stars at the conclusion of the archipelago. Peace must, as in one more time, e g: U S sit with me or say no more black stars. You can't make me take it from Opel. We're free tell us. She ran on Time Kindred Lamar by far really sneakers, alas, Kendrick says, any g. U S say it with me:
or say no more black stars will come and get me. I believe here Kendrick is referring to the black star line, a shipping, and incorporated by black activists, Marcus Garvian, nineteen nineteen. shipping line was created to ship goods and eventually african Americans to Africa and garbage back to Africa, movement, the black star line has since been used as a symbol for African Americans attempting to find there. back to Africa physically or spiritually. Capella continues. Take it from Oprah Winfrey, tell her she's right on time, Kendrick Lamar I far at the realistic us alive. And it seems to be claiming his allegiance with opera and our views on the inward and so far using the word incorrectly As he said earlier, the Hermes don't recognize we ve been using it wrong. Kendrick asserts the correct way: to reinstate meekest, as the replacement word for the Edward and allow but the messaging of act for cried self respect,
positive energy honesty, south acceptance, immunity, Kennedy is also attempting to relate with his heritage in a meaningful way Acting a word is heard in used his whole life back to Africa with a positive and connotation behind it is itself. Indicative of the new relationship is form with Africa is motherland place in many ways gave him the strength to overcome, as personal demons a nation, but a guy. I never one conclusion that nobody don't go to the state Kendrick Lamar by far the real, a sneak us alive, acclamation mark the moment of triumph the one minor in the movie that signals the heroes. Finally conquer the villain Kendrick, whose back the schemes of Uncle SAM, the sins of Lucy and his own suicidal thoughts is now really self affirming crowning himself, king and believing it embraces leadership role and his words,
a tangible effect on the crowd full of Compton natives, symbolically breaking up through the power of music within empowering positive message, the descriptor the list is surely calculated its yet another call back. A good kid mad city and given the call back to the album. We can safely claim tip butterfly to be the sequel to good kid The two are invariably linked. The song real was good. Kids narrative conclusion it signal ex transformation from impressionable Captain Kidd to authentic a door
who had fine escaped from carpeted through music. I love what the boat, when you have too often in fact another so much I don't love anything else, but what about that to do anyway? I don't know myself to the point I should hate everything I do should I gave up my life is that they should I hate her, for what should be further reason. Should I tell me that I'm sleeping should I hate him whatever me boy now? Should I hastily credibly lets you talk about hey money, powers back you my real name, the fact men and ass she made a butterfly We saw contracts escape from captain thrust him into a new world. He wasn't yet prepared for a butterfly Kendrick is require lost his way and so as for answers in this new world of temptation and sin. The conclusion He reaches on eyes, essentially the same as real good kid. He finds it gave from harsh realities through music, self acceptance and authenticity fi, isn't so much a revelation of better return. Rediscover
we of the lessons learned. I get kid in this way. Jack Story becomes universal the bowls of self respect, love for others and real nice he preaches can be applied to all our lives no matter. Our circumstances is true. Leah, powerful thing through these, Principles, Kendrick is able to unite the world around our common struggles of self doubt. Lonesomeness and feeling lost in the world while offering a very valid practices that can help overcome these struggles, it's one of the reasons why tipper butterflies, effective it's at once deeply. personal, yet extremely universal druggist, somehow able to make related all his own circumstances circumstances, very different than the majority of us conveys a story in such a way that we all feel a connection is truly a powerful thing. Before we and our analysis of I liked your drugs and to a few more interesting points. First,
just acknowledge the sheer genius and ingenuity of this self. Referential corn quote: lie version, Slash extended, skip. I've never heard of an artist omitting the lead single of their album a single day one to Grammy words before the hour was even released, favor of the live version and certain not this hybrid of a performance and Skip Kendrick Approach, creates its own song as narrative tour, doing so only strengthens its dramatic impact. It's a brave move. One displays contracts, dedication to the outcome as art form, not just a collection of songs and you keep. is that. Why did you choose lovers in and not the studio version that was my ideal. Already knew what I want to do. I knew I wanted When I made the record already knew what I want to do. I be I Whitley have to be cohesive, will work with the you're part of them
I'm just use like their minutes behind percent real dressy days. best scenes in movies. You know when I write so there become an actual play. The skin was like second nation in me, I'm already known want to convey, even if they want to like that, still going to still ongoing out my way got across like I know a lot of people What did you do? It was like this, but it please and apply going to mortal men. The way It was now because you actually get to see the message and action. Not only are you say, and I love myself, you then gets. I see the crowd and in so doing why they said love themselves against it, at least now that the aid, which is don't because you can take the were you break it down and in a way I've never heard before niggers and easy. You is interconnected. Ethiopia and what that means: royalty,
Are you gonna be claimed a warrant? Is this step economy claiming that the word in northern negative media that goes with it twice as much to do that we will try to do it. We re trying to do is show you right in It is still never translate appease into whether this is a start and network. the purpose for and Also, while we already mentioned callbacks too good kid, mad city, we can now see go back to the opening measures up to of butterflies. First ACT and the boy Gardener sample of every Edward is a star no the Alps narrative arc. We realise the notion of every and word is the star is a conclusion. Kendrick has been working towards all along its thematic lol, form foreshadowing, as Kendrick is come to a similar conclusion red finding the Edward
spreading the same self affirming message: We can also now circle back to the end of the second track for free as long as the third track king, Monday It's like you and I was, but now when it came to the king called you have it. I don't want to get the legs of good pragmatic in its wake. You, of course, having now the full narrative contacts. The references to king are clearly orchestrated uncle sands, deprecate prostitutes, lamps, Kendrick for not being a king. At the end of her free Kendrick, then responses encounter while the song is about permit its empowerment, based an ego as Kendrick, early assaults. His fellow rat peers were calling himself king, As you remember, the message hidden within King Counter was rules like a king. Yet told like a slave, alluding to Kendrick being pimp by Uncle SAM.
A metaphor for the exploitation of talent by capitalistic America on ice through the word. Niggers can claims itself and all his brothers and sisters kings, there's no who involved his reign does not come at the expense of others and his message. Inclusive and unabashedly positive list Lee with I run into yet again. Another parallel with Tupac secure nineteen. Ninety one debut album 2Pacalypse now contains a song called words of wisdom and which redefines the Edward in a positive way. Why? does it make when I say Nigger has not been negative with which it has not been made, I would say, is waiting for me, weeks, thereby ignoring forget it goes a leg, is: what are we going to do?
Finally, we must die like glass, makes a Edward an acronym and I e g a stands for. Were ignorant getting goals accomplished it's an affirming gesture, not unlike Hendricks attempt to reclaim the Edward actors or The variety with them Attic parallel throughout this exercise, as well as a now countless amounts are references throughout Tippit butterfly. It was Kendrick feels a deep spiritual connection to West Coast. Wrapper Tupac, secure this connection We explored more than ever other out next and final track: mortal men epilogue of Tippit Butterfly
which was thoroughly examine next time on dissect. I sectors render produced by me now until the end of the season, dissected holding a fundraiser for the bicentennial Highschool Music Programme and competent California. This is Hendrick, on Mars, high school, listen donate money to the music programme and an effort to keep kids off the streets and in the studio, I loved ashore appreciation for Kendrick and all we ve learned from two pepper butterfly by supporting his cause result. Some great donation parts, including die Like T shirts, an awesome, Jack inspired had by Rosa peril. Make your donation at dissect, podcast, dot com the goal of raising one thousand dollars if every listener of the show donated thirteen said we could meet our goal,
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