Rap Song of the Week is a round-up of the hip-hop tracks you should hear every Friday. View the entire playlist HERE. Now, Kendrick Lamar is back with “Savior” on his new album, Mr. Morale and the Great Steppers.
In the second part of Kendrick Lamar’s double album, Mr. Morale and the Great Steppers, he focuses on breaking other people’s expectations. Given the Compton rapper’s position as a public figure, fans are looking to him to lead the conversation on racial and social issues, but like Charles Barkley, Kendrick doesn’t want to be their model- neither should he.
In “Savior,” Kendrick makes his case while pointing to other Black celebrities such as J. Cole, Future, and LeBron James, who are also expected to bear the brunt of the Black community. Even if everyone inspires the community in their own way, that doesn’t mean they are ready or equipped to be the next Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., or Muhammad Ali.
Calling the hypocrites wasting time arguing about what it really means to be pro-Black, Kendrick makes the valid point that doing so actually weakens the cause. As well as calling people silent on social media: “I see n **** s arguing about who the Blacker is / Even the black screens and calling it unity / The reflection of silence makes you who want to tell me. “
According to Kendrick, the potential blowback has scared many rappers to speak out about their own beliefs (“Afraid to be crucified about a song, but they won’t accept it”) and treated like the NBA superstar who Kyrie Irving, who widely criticized for standing up against vaccine mandates.
He also makes the argument that just living as a Black man in America living through generational trauma and racial injustice is a protest in itself. “A protest for you/ Three-sixty-five for me,” he spat. “But that’s how we all think/ The collective consciousness/ Disasters keep coming back, ha.”
Besides, Kendrick was the wrong person and he knew it, and he also didn’t do the dirty work behind the scenes. “Yeah, Tupac is dead, you have to think for yourself,” he said simply. “I’m not really sophisticated, save the face / The manipulation, as acquired taste.”
So, instead of putting himself there, Kendrick focuses on his spiritual health, protecting his soul “in the valley of silence” while putting it all together. Mr. Morale and the Great Steppers. Whether or not fans agree with what Kendrick has to say doesn’t matter. Man no longer burdens himself, and they can take it or leave it.