On Sunday, rapper Kendrick Lamar stole the show at the Billboard Awards when he walked away with six wins. His haul of awards came off the back of his critically-acclaimed, multi-platinum selling 2017 release, DAMN.
Throughout his career, Lamar has had a penchant for crafting songs that paint vivid and alluring pictures of the continent. We looked for and found three instances where he did just that:
To Pimp A Butterfly, Blacker the Berry
This entire project gave a powerful narrative on black life. But it was this passage where he notably referenced two South African tribes that went for: “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 Pirus, only death settle the score!”
Untitled, Unmastered, Blue Faces
Lamar’s off-the-wall album, Untitled, Unmastered was packed with some riveting African references. One of the strongest was Blue Faces, which touches on Cape Town’s history of slavery: "Your pain ain’t mine half the time/ A brand new excuse ain’t nothing to me / See I made my moves, with shackled feet... Cape Town, Cape Town, Cape Town, Cape Town…”
To Pimp A Butterfly, i
At the end of the Grammy award-winning single, i, Lamar proposed an Ethiopian alternative to the word n***** - negus. He raps: "Well, this is my explanation straight from Ethiopia / N-E-G-U-S definition: royalty; King royalty – wait listen / N-E-G-U-S description: Black emperor, King, ruler, now let me finish."