Monday, May 23, 2016

Kendrick Lamar Isn’t A Lyrical Genius, His Fans Are Obviously too Stupid to Know Better

*I get it, Kendrick Lamar is kinda-sorta better than average at stringing together coherent sentences. 

Every now and then he’ll get fancy and use a five-dollar word (you know, the kind of word that you haven’t seen since you were studying for the SAT’s in high-school). However, if you dig beneath the surface of his content, you'll likely discover what I have...that his lyrics consist of basic vocabulary masquerading as “sophisticated prose.” 

There’s only one small hiccup preventing the masses from seeing through Lamar’s veneer of intelligence. Generally speaking, the average negro (ie. Lamar’s fanbase) can barely read beyond the 8th grade level. In other words, when DeAndre or Shaniqua attempt to gain an understanding of Lamar’s music, even at the basic level, they presumably struggle due to their inability to grasp simple constructs of the English language. 

It doesn’t help that Lamar often delivers his “rhymes” with the polish of a 1-year-old learning to speak his first words. If you have the patience to sift through his fast-paced gibberish, there’s a faint possibility of extracting substance, or at the very least, a message. For example, in his latest album “DAMN,” Lamar renders his best impression of a civil-rights ambassador, lamenting the perceived “slights” forced upon the black community and other minority groups. He discusses police brutality (America’s favorite dead horse to kick these days), self-love, cultural appropriation, as well as mass incarceration and institutional racism, among other issues.

RELATED CONTENT: Light Skin vs. Dark Skin: Despite Their Comparble Skills And Insight, Colorism Has Elevated Kendrick Lamar Above J. Cole

Granted, Lamar has, from the outset of his young career, dedicated portions of his four albums to shedding light on the undercurrent of bigotry and xenophobia in America, particularly as it relates to black people and others of color. In my opinion, he’s not faking the funk like many of his comrades in music have done in recent months (ahem, Beyonce). Nevertheless, in spite of his keen understanding of social injustice and American politics, Lamar’s perceived “lyrical genius” is a testament to the shock and awe people display whenever they encounter a black man capable of articulating his thoughts in a coherent manner (beyond saying “yo” and “wassup”). Lamar belongs in the same category with Tupac, Jay Z, Nas, J Cole, Common, Andre 3000, Drake, and Wale — all talented in their own right, but hardly comparable to Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou or Shakespeare.

As I write these words, I can’t help but hearken back to 2008, when then-Senator Obama wiggled his way into the hearts Black American voters. We were charmed by his effortless charisma and good looks, but what attracted us most to Obama was his Ivy League education and strong oratorical skills. He lit crowds on fire with his speeches and inspired millions to vote in what became the most lopsided presidential election in the history of American politics. In retrospect, however, Obama’s rapid climb to fame — and the Oval Office — was a result of this country’s unbearably low standards for black men. Don’t get me wrong, the President is no one’s dummy (unless you’re a member of Congress). But one of the main reasons he became so popular so quickly was because the masses considered him to be a refreshing departure from the prototypical chain-wearing, pants-sagging, Ebonics-speaking black male. In my estimation, Obama’s political success is a product of strong discipline and work-ethic, not superior intelligence. However, compared to the average n*gga, Obama looks like the second coming of Einstein — that’s why we love him.

The same concept applies to Kendrick Lamar. He is, by no means, an idiot. But the public’s aggrandizement of his lyrical prowess is consistent with a general apathy for reading and the subsequent expansion of one’s vocabulary, particularly within the African American community. To put it in simple terms, if the majority of black youth would pick up a book instead of a blunt (marijuana), they would likely be only slightly impressed by Lamar’s ‘aptitude’ for wordplay.

After reading this article, some might accuse me of trying to marginalize Lamar’s success. I can hear the voices now, “why are you wasting your time trying to bring another black man down.” On the surface it may appear that I’m taking unwarranted shots at Lamar, his predecessors and his contemporaries. However, when I take into account the enormous shortage of education and structure within the black community, especially among our youth, I’m reminded of how unique Kendrick Lamar really is.

Rather than attaching hyperbole to Lamar’s comprehension of the English language, perhaps we should attempt to rewrite (pun intended) the decades-long history of our linguistic ineptitude. Let’s start by getting rid of the word “twerk.”


  1. Its about the overall message....Go listen to SECTION 80 and OVERLY DEDICATED. It is what he is saying GRANTED it is basic content but that is what our YOUTH LACK....(A BASIC UNDERSTANDING) which you clearly pointed OUT.....BUT 2 EACH HIS OWN

  2. What rappers do you like... and name another rapper you can compare to Langston Hughes or Shakespeare ( PLEEEEEASE dont say 2Pac ).

  3. I agree hes no nas definitely no 3000 drake has very lyrical moments kendrick is almost neck and neck with Cole world but still a very talented individual shout out to kendrick keep spitten my brother..and why not pick up a blunt and a book..BOB Marley was a very intelligent human

  4. I agree hes no nas definitely no 3000 drake has very lyrical moments kendrick is almost neck and neck with Cole world but still a very talented individual shout out to kendrick keep spitten my brother..and why not pick up a blunt and a book..BOB Marley was a very intelligent human

  5. So Hip-Hop artists need to be comparable Langston Hughes or Shakespeare....let me digress


  6. What about idiot �� don't even wanna read the whole thing just sounded like a white supremacist wrote it

  7. You can say what you want, the man has some points. all in all tho the person who wrote this is just hating. this is coming from someone who writes article for a living. Some people can say the same about your article... regardless you got the date wrong at the top of the page so STFU...

  8. This article is racist and defiled members of the black community. Usimg names like "shaniqua" to describe ones academic level and ethnicity is low balling. Theres people who like Kendrick and others who don't. I'm not a fan of Kendrick but it didn't take long to realize that this is an insult to black people.


  9. Clearly you do not dig into this man's lyrics (do research on the message within his pieces) nor are you able to identify with what he speaks about so you must attack it in some way. How so very mature and becoming of yourself.
    Do yourself and the world a favor. Take 3 songs of Kendrick's, go to Rap Genius, and breakdown the lyrics and the MESSAGE within in them. It's a lot deeper than just basic vocabulary.
    I suppose public speaking wasn't a part of your higher education. What's taught in such a class is that to appeal to the masses you can't be fancy with your words. For the majority of people to understand a message, it must be said in a way the majority speaks. No one fucking talks like Shakespeare so only God knows why you would even mentioned him. Hughes?!? His poems are so very simple in regards to his vocabulary, ya fucking kidding me??
    You're a joke who is miserable and shallow. You want to come off as smart but in all actuality your mind only allows you to scratch the surface on things as deep as the treasures that lay on the ocean floor.
    Like I have previously stated, check out Rap Genius. It's not a book but it'll help you understand the messages within his lyrics because you clearly are too fortunate to identify with them therefore you cannot comprehend them.
    Fucking idiot