Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Martin Had a Dream, Kendrick Have a Dream"

Kendrick Lamar - Backseat Freestyle

Above is a link to the Kendrick Lamar song we discussed in class.Here are the lyrics (Source: http://rapgenius.com/Kendrick-lamar-backseat-freestyle-lyrics)


Martin had a dream
Martin had a dream
Kendrick have a dream

All my life I want money and power
Respect my mind or die from lead shower

I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower
So I can fuck the world for seventy two hours

[Verse 1]
Goddamn I feel amazing, damn I'm in the matrix
My mind is living on cloud 9 and this nine is never on vacation
Start up that Maserati and VROOM VROOM I'm racing
Poppin pills in the lobby and I pray they don't find her naked
And I pray you niggas is hating, shooters go after Judas
Jesus Christ if I live life on my knees, ain't no need to do this

Park it in front of Lueders, next to that Church's Chicken
All you pussies is losers, all my niggas is winners, screaming


Goddamn I got bitches, damn I got bitches
Damn I got bitches, wifey, girlfriend and mistress
All my life I want money and power

Respect my mind or die from lead showers

[Verse 2]
I've got twenty-five lighters on my dresser, yes sir
Put fire to that ass, body cast on a stretcher
And her body got that ass that a ruler couldn't measure
And it make me cum fast but I never get embarrassed
And I recognize you have what I've been wanting since that record
That Adina Howard had pop it fast to impress her

She rolling I'm holding my scrotum and posing
This voice here is golden so fuck y'all I goes in and


Damn I got bitches, damn I got bitches
Damn I got bitches, wifey, girlfriend and mistress
All my life I want money and power
Respect my mind or nigga

[Verse 3]
It's go time
I roll in dough with a good grind
And I run at ho with a baton
That's a relay race with a bouquet
They say, "K, you going marry mines
Beeotch no way, beeotch no way
Beeotch no way, beeotch

Okay, I'm never living life confined, it's a failure
Even if I'm blind I can tell ya who what when where how
To sell your game right on time
Beeotch go play, beeotch go play
Beeotch go play,
I look like OJ, killing everything from pussy to a mothafucking Hit-Boy beat

She pussy popping and I got options like an audible, I be
C-O-M-P-T-O-N, I win then ball at your defeat
C-O-M-P-T-O-N, my city mobbing in the street, yellin'

 As the Professor mentioned, the album was one of the most acclaimed of 2012 in any genre; Metacritic lists it as number two. The song is, as you might have notice, ripe for misinterpretation. Then again, one of the reasons Lamar's album was so critically acclaimed is because it asks its audience to look beyond the surface of its lyrics, and to understand the album as a complete product rather than a collection of marketable mp3s.

“Backseat Freestyle is being in the mind state of being 16 years old, and not having no cares in the world. Not giving a damn about nothing, but life and money and what you see in front of you. It’s not me talking now, it’s me talking then.” - Kendrick Lamar (rapgenius)

d What do you guys think of Lamar's song? Do you think the context of the artist imitating a 16-year old justifies the language and imagery used? Do you think Lamar should be praised for adding this extra layer to his music?

Or should he be criticized for profiting off a misinterpretation, for using an art form to espouse a popular, marketable ideology that he himself can absolve personal responsibility for?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting, Mithun! These are excellent questions that I hope your classmates consider further. I also recommend that everyone check out Ta-Nehisi Coates's writing on Lamar's album. He has some inspired thinking on the work as a whole, just as you are examining it, as a narrative. This story-telling mode in hip hop reminds me of something Jay-Z has said guides the way he puts together an album, and that is with an eye toward "sequence." Your questions about hip hop/rap is judged, whether the "text" should be read at surface level is very interesting to me. When we get to Baraka's poetry, we'll be watching clips of him reading. How can you separate the static text of the poem from the sound of the poet's voice or the music he uses to clarify his words? I think the same question should, of course, be brought to hip hop lyrics. How do we "read" or understand hip hop lyrics outside of their conditions? How does Lamar's voice inform the performance of the above lyrics? How does authorial intent operate in conversations about hip hop? Jay-Z's book, _Decoded_ complicates questions of intent and reception.


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