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Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble”: A brief epilogue

The Life As Shay Report:

Welp! I’m back! As you know, if there is one artist that’s able to set fire under my arse and get me back to writing, it’s Kendrick *insert emoji heart eyes* Seeing as how Kendrick released “Humble” about three days ago and there is already 21 million plus views, I know that you’ve likely already seen the video and heard the song.

Im just here with a brief epilogue of what he just did with the unhumble, fact-intensive, bar-for-bar analysis of rap, america and black culture; this all in less than 4 mins.

Check it out:

1) Roman Catholic Priest: The first scene, you see a bent-head Kendrick with natural sunlight shining directly upon him. I interpret this as Kendrick communicating that he is the chosen one; something like a priest. (Not sure how I feel about the religious reference but…*cough, cough*)

2) Syrup Sandwiches and Grandma Allowances: Let’s have a moment for those that know what he’s talking about here. This is his badge of honor and connection to the hood. This is the start of the gradual rise of the song as he tells why he deserves to be/is the best and why the other rappers (namely Big Sean haha!) should be humble.

3) Hair Salon Scene: Connection to and support of black women. No explanation needed here.

4) Last Supper: Kendrick is seated in the center of the table. The others at the table are energetic and active, while Kendrick conveys a calm demeanor. Clearly, he is trying to depict Jesus and his disciples. Whoever is not “humble” is an enemy. This is shown in the scene where everyone’s attention is instantly drawn to the camera, with a sharp look of concern on their faces. (Again…I could totally live without the references to religion…)

5) NATURAL: Omg! Never thought this day would come. Kendrick and other rappers have embraced African-American women and even glorified natural beauty. However, this was a step up. The direct, visual juxtaposition of make-up v. no make-up has yet to be done. Kudos!

6) Burning Heads: Another Biblical reference?
Romans 12 (NKJV)
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
20 Therefore: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This scene still baffles me because a burning head is not only creepy, but also depicts anger. However, everyone is calm as if they are allowing their anger to slowly burn. There are ropes tied around the heads of the people in the background…that makes me think of lynching. Thoughts?

7) All white in front of a window: In this scene, there are numerous red dots all over Kendrick…laser beams guns. Did you notice that the police are implicated as the culprits outside the window? See the police lights flashing? All white “so you can see exactly where the government had shot me?”–HiiiPower, Kendrick Lamar

8) Ted Talk: This reference was my favorite. No explanation needed.

Take a look and let me know what I missed.

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