Kendrick Lamar

Is Kendrick Lamar's "i" The New Kumbaya?


After nearly two years of hiatus, Compton's very own Kendrick Lamar came out of hiding with a new Isley inspired single, entitled "i". And I have to say, it couldn't of come at a better time.

In "i",  Kendrick Lamar convincingly gives an antidote to what he sees ailing the world. He does so by charismatically harmonizing (as only he can) over an infectious chorus iterating the importance of loving one's self. All very timely, in the wake of Ferguson and the civic distress found around the world.

Like many listeners, I wasn't anticipating such an optimistic sound from Mr. Lamar - especially one about self love. But I have an inkling as to where Mr. Lamar maybe coming from. Now, before Mr. Lamar's concept of self love gets co-opted into something entirely different, here is a what Self Love means. Self love originally was a Black Power concept (Huey P. Newton, Malcom X, etc.) championed by leaders about the importance of self admiration and collective identity. All of which raised consciousness, self esteem, and activism in light of what was happening during the 60's ( hence the activist in the beginning of the song).

Are you saying 'i' is the new Kumbaya?"

...Now, I know what you are thinking? Tyree, are you saying 'i' is the new Kumbaya? Or even drawing parallels to Public Enemy's Fight The Power because of the social activist references? Yes; seeing how the song does entreat the listener to have higher admiration for them self and a radical identity reflective of the 60's. But irrespective of my quirky musical and historical associations, Kendrick Lamar's "i" put's love at the center - and that's something none of us can argue with.

Kudos to you, Mr. Lamar.