Song Analysis Alright by Kendrick Lamar
SongAnalysis: Alright by Kendrick Lamar
The song “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar addresses the lack oftransformation in the experiences of the African Americans. Itreassures the Black community and promises them that everything willchange in the end. The song was produced by Pharrell Williams and apart of the album “To Pimp a Butterfly” which was also successful(Alright: Kendrick Lamar). Furthermore, the song also won the GrammyAwards, the MTV Music Video Awards and the BET Hip Hop Awards(Alright: Kendrick Lamar). In particular, the circumstances thatinfluenced the lyrics include the death of young innocentAfrican-Americans in the hands of the police officers and the povertythat the Black community was experiencing. The lyrics can beassociated with the conflict perspective that often looks at thecompetition for power and resources between the police officers andBlack people (Noor et al. 351). This essay will evaluate how thelyrics use the conflict perspective to talk about the poverty, policebrutality and the need for unity among the African Americans.
The conflict perspective connects with the lyrics of the song becausethey highlight the spread of poverty and drug abuse in the society.In this case, the rapper raps about how “Schemin’, and let metell you ‘bout my life/ painkillers only put me in the twilight”(Alright: Kendrick Lamar). The line paints the picture of a black andyoung man who does not have any opportunities to succeed and thepainkillers reveal how drug abuse has undermined their chances ofsucceeding. In particular, the conflict perspective asserts thatpeople are often on the run to get more recognition and wealth too(Noor et al. 351). Kendrick’s “Alright” depicts how the Blacksand the White community are competing for the resources and power,but, various obstacles seem to interfere with their chances ofsucceeding. The illustration tries to reveal how drug abuse hasconfused the younger people in the society instead. Given theever-increasing needs, they are forced to be criminals so that theycan get enough income to cater for the expenses that they encounter.More important, Kendrick wants the US government to implement someimmediate measures that will consider the interests of the youngBlack men that lack a platform that can assist them in shaping theirfuture.
Furthermore, the conflict perspective also highlights the policebrutality and how they view the young black men as criminals becauseof the common stereotypic assumptions. In the song Alright, Kendrickreveals that “n*gga, and we hate po-po/ wanna kill us dead in thestreet fo sho” (Alright: Kendrick Lamar). In this case, Tupac talksabout the tension between the police officers and the young Black menin America. In line with the conflict perspective, Tupac insists thatpeople live in an oppressive society where the police officers areoften fighting with the young African-Americans because they believethey are criminals (Noor et al. 354). Kendrick believes that thejudiciary system can serve the necessary justice, but, shooting theinnocent men will not be helpful. He even criticizes the policeofficers and warns them against using their position inappropriately,and he wishes that the government can reconsider their priorities andfocus on some of the most pressing issues such as poverty and racism.Clearly, the song addresses the challenges that the Americans arefacing and he wishes that the government can look at its citizensequally regardless of their races or ethnicity so that everyone canfeel free and being treated fairly as well.
Lastly, the conflict perspective also talks about the young Black menfacing different challenges, but, Kendrick reassures them thateverything will change. He chants that “do you hear me, do you feelme? we gon’ be alright” (Alright: Kendrick Lamar). The lyricsremind the Black community that the challenges will end if only theydo not join hands in the fight against the White supremacy. Kendrickeven identifies the conflicts among the African-Americans that areafraid of deciding how they can look at the issue. Some are afraid ofsaying the truth while others feel like they will be intimidated.Hence, Kendrick feels that they should ignore such notions and focuson ensuring that they make the right choices and face the USgovernment as a group. The unity will help them have a strongervoice, and such issues will force the state to make prompt changes.For instance, they will end racism and the police brutality that hasbeen a huge issue among the Black community that wants to be freefrom the discrimination and the intimidation that they haveexperienced. In summary, the song highlights hope and reassures theBlack community that everything will change in the end.
In conclusion, the song “Alright” reveals how the conflictperspective can be applied in the way that the society functions. Thelyrics highlight how poverty has pushed the younger Black men toengage in crime because they are unable to get any well-paying jobsthat can give enough income. It shows that the White people controlmore resources and have a higher authority that assists them inexploiting the African-Americans. The increased police brutality alsoshows how they are unable to walk freely without being considered ascriminals. Clearly, the various social institutions such as thepolice and the government are oppressing the Black community. Hence,Kendrick believes that unity among his community will start thechange that they need because the state will even take them seriouslyand consider their concerns as well.
“Alright: Kendrick Lamar.” Genius.com,https://genius.com/Kendrick-lamar-alright-lyrics.Accessed 9 April 2017.
Noor, Masi, et al. "When suffering begets suffering thepsychology of competitive victimhood between adversarial groups inviolent conflicts." Personality and Social Psychology Review16.4 (2012): 351-374.
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