“u” – Kendrick Lamar

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I kept on listening to this all day, repeatedly until I finally worn myself out. The entire album is untouchable. But I want to talk about one of the songs in To Pimp A Butterfly for now: track six – “u.”

Whereas “i” is a song about self-love and self-respect, an anthem that encourages and propagates peace and positivity, “u” is its Mr. Hyde, a stark contrast that plumbs on Kendrick Lamar’s darkest thoughts; it is a maddening, inflicted torment upon himself. It immediately follows “These Walls,” the ending narrative of which where Lamar said, “I found myself screaming in a hotel room.” And sure enough, the opening to “u” is a hair-raising cry, and then:

Loving you is complicated

He’s singing about himself: in a pained, anguished way that can only denote hate or depression – or both. Fuck, man. When I realized that, it felt like an avalanche is crashing on me. It’s as if the only thing that matters to him right now is to harm himself. His raspy voice sounding more guttural than usual, I can picture him standing in front of a mirror, spitting these verses as he glare at his own reflection with utmost revulsion towards himself. And as if it isn’t enough, just barely as I am catching my own breath, a skit follows and with horns as backdrop, he began the second verse with an unhinged, unrecognizable voice, one that croaks. He just sounded so defeated, his spirit crushed, damaged beyond repair.

The animosity in his voice, which turned into a demented squeal – it’s too much. This song displaced a lot of things that I know right now. Life is too fucking precious.

The world’ll know money can’t stop a suicidal weakness

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