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The Blacker the Berry - Kendrick Lamar

The Blacker the Berry

To Pimp a Butterfly
hip hop 2015 Conscious Hip Hop experimental hip hop 10s


The Blacker the Berry is a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was released on February 9, 2015 as the second single from his third studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly. The song's hook is performed by Jamaican dancehall artist Assassin, notable for performing on Kanye West's 2013 LP Yeezus, whose lyrics similarly address racial inequality, specifically against African Americans. It shares its title with the novel The Blacker the Berry by American author Wallace Thurman, which deals with similar themes of racism. The album version of the song also features additional vocals from neo soul singer Lalah Hathaway. "The Blacker the Berry" is a racially-charged song, noted for being a departure from the "self-love-promoting" "i", a single released in late 2014. The song features a "boom-bap beat", with lyrics that celebrate his African-American heritage, and "tackles hatred, racism, and hypocrisy head on." Lamar introduces the themes with lyrics such as; "Came from the bottom of mankind / My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide / You hate me don’t you / You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture / You’re fucking evil / I want you to recognize that I’m a proud monkey / You vandalize my perception, but can’t take style from me." The song, however, contains a deeper meaning of the dangers of hypocrisy. Every verse in the song begins with "I'm the biggest hypocrite of 2015", followed by Lamar stating issues of racism in society. The final lyric — "So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street? / When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me? / Hypocrite! " — reframes the meaning of the piece, and demonstrates an internal struggle within Lamar and the African-American community about issues of racism and events such as the death of Trayvon Martin. Lamar notes the hypocrisy of black men mourning Martin's death while also themselves committing violent acts against black men, forcing the listener to consider the complexity and perhaps inevitability of the hypocrisy discussed throughout the song.


Kendrick Lamar (born Kendrick Lamar Duckworth June 17, 1987) is a rapper from Compton, California. He is also a member of the hip-hop supergroup Black Hippy collective along with members Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q. His music is largely influenced by the works of 2Pac, Jay-Z, Nas, DMX, The Notorious B.I.G., Mos Def, Eazy-E and Eminem. He began to gain major recognition in 2010 after his first retail release, Overly Dedicated. The following year, Lamar independently released his first studio album Section. Show more ...

The Blacker the Berry - Kendrick Lamar

[Intro x2]
Everything black, I don't want black
I want everything black, I ain't need black
Some white some black, I ain't mean black
I want everything black

[Bridge]
Six in the mornin', fire in the street
Burn, baby burn, that's all I wanna see
And sometimes I get off watchin' you die in vain
It's such a shame they may call me crazy
They may say I suffer from schizophrenia or somethin'
But homie you made me
Black don't crack my nigga

[Verse 1]
I'm the biggest hypocrite of 2015
Once I finish this, witnesses will convey just what I mean
Been feeling this way since I was 16, came to my senses
You never liked us anyway, fuck your friendship, I meant it
I'm African-American, I'm African
I'm black as the moon, heritage of a small village
Pardon my residence
Came from the bottom of mankind
My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide
You hate me don't you?
You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture
You're fuckin' evil I want you to recognize that I'm a proud monkey
You vandalize my perception but can't take style from me
And this is more than confession
I mean I might press the button so you know my discretion
I'm guardin' my feelin's, I know that you feel it
You sabotage my community, makin' a killin'
You made me a killer, emancipation of a real nigga

[Pre-Hook]
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the bigger I shoot

[Hook]
I said they treat me like a slave, cah' me black
Woi, we feel a whole heap of pain, cah' we black
And man a say they put me in a chain, cah' we black
Imagine now, big gold chain full of rocks
How you no see the whip, left scars pon' me back
But now we have a big whip, parked pon' the block
All them say we doomed from the start, cah' we black
Remember this, every race start from the black, just remember that

[Verse 2]
I'm the biggest hypocrite of 2015
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 telling me, penitentiary would only hire me
Curse me till I'm dead
Church me with your fake prophesyzing that I'mma be just another slave in my head
Institutionalize manipulation and lies
Reciprocation of freedom only live in your eyes
You hate me don't you?
I know you hate me just as much as you hate yourself
Jealous of my wisdom and cards I dealt
Watchin' me as I pull up, fill up my tank, then peel out
Muscle cars like pull ups, show you what these big wheels 'bout, ah
Black and successful, this black man meant to be special
CAT scans on my radar bitch, how can I help you?
How can I tell you I'm making a killin'?
You made me a killer, emancipation of a real nigga

[Pre-Hook]
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the bigger I shoot

[Hook]
I said they treat me like a slave, cah' me black
Woi, we feel a whole heap of pain, cah' we black
And man a say they put me in a chain, cah' we black
Imagine now, big gold chain full of rocks
How you no see the whip, left scars pon' me back
But now we have a big whip, parked pon' the block
All them say we doomed from the start, cah' we black
Remember this, every race start from the black, just remember that

[Verse 3]
I'm the biggest hypocrite of 2015
When I finish this if you listenin' sure you will agree
This plot is bigger than me, it's generational hatred
It's genocism, it's grimy, little justification
I'm African-American, I'm African
I'm black as the heart of a fuckin' Aryan
I'm black as the name of Tyrone and Darius
Excuse my French but fuck you — no, fuck y'all
That's as blunt as it gets, I know you hate me, don't you?
You hate my people, I can tell cause it's threats when I see you
I can tell cause your ways deceitful
Know I can tell because you're in love with the Desert Eagle
Thinkin' maliciously, he get a chain then you gone bleed him
It's funny how Zulu and Xhosa might go to war
Two tribal armies that want to build and destroy
Remind me of these Compton Crip gangs that live next door
Beefin' with Piru's, only death settle the score
So don't matter how much I say I like to preach with the Panthers
Or tell Georgia State "Marcus Garvey got all the answers"
Or try to celebrate February like it's my B-Day
Or eat watermelon, chicken, and Kool-Aid on weekdays
Or jump high enough to get Michael Jordan endorsements
Or watch BET cause urban support is important
So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street?
When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me?
Hypocrite!

[Outro]



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