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1 Verse, 1 Hearse #22, Kendrick Lamar – Black Boy Fly

November 1, 2012 · Posted in 1 verse 1 hearse, editorial · 16 Comments 

kendrick-lamar-good-kid-maad-city-deluxe

Kendrick have a dream! Last week his dreams came true when he dropped his debut album, Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City. Like expected, it got hip-hop talking, but it was surprisingly polarizing. If it wasn’t a classic, it was “trash.” You either felt it or you didn’t. Part of the blame lies in the album’s concept. GKMC is Kendrick spitting his story on the mic’. If you’ve never been in a “Sherane” situation or if you aren’t a good kid in a m.A.A.d. city, the album might’ve been trash. However, one thing that is indisputable is the album’s lyrical presentation. The flows, rhyme structures, and concepts are rock solid, and one of the best that hip-hop has seen over the last few years. Kendrick revolutionized the new West Coast with his introspective raps, alternating voices, and thug-less-ness. Of course we don’t know yet, but Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City might go down as something special. Right now, we should just soak it in and enjoy it. One of the most introspective tracks off the album was “Black Boy Fly” from the deluxe version. Momma Lamar’s mini van is m.A.A.d. cool, but nothing is more killer than our own hearse. So jump in the backseat, read, and don’t let anyone kill your vibe ya bish.


At first I was shocked that “Black Boy Fly” wasn’t in the standard edition, but upon further thought, the track doesn’t really “flow” with the album’s story. But to me, “Black Boy Fly” could’ve been a good 13th track with “Now Or Never” as the triumphant 14th. Another factor in the album’s polarization was its gloominess. It isn’t a sad album, but it doesn’t have those emotionally uplifting songs like “#HiiiPower” per se. It lets us know about problems in society, but it doesn’t always offer a way out. When the album did get turnt up, with the exception of “Swimming Pools,” Kendrick lost his balance and went a little bit too ig’nant. Again, the album’s concept limited Kendrick because it’s his story. It’s not a political album, but a little more energy could’ve helped.

I used to be jealous of Arron Afflalo
I used to be jealous of Arron Afflalo
He was the one to follow
He was the only leader foreseeing brighter tomorrows
He would live in the gym
We was living in sorrow
Total envy of him
He made a dream become a reality
Actually making it possible to swim
His way out of Compton with further more to accomplish
Graduate with honors, a sponsor of basketball scholars
It’s 2004 and I’m watching him score 30
Remember vividly how them victory points had hurt me
‘Cause every basket was a reaction or a reminder
That we was just moving backwards
The bungalow where you find us
The art of us ditching classes heading nowhere fast
Stick my head inside the study hall, he focused on math
Determination, ambition, plus dedication and wisdom
Qualities he was given was the shit we didn’t have
Dug inside of his book bag when Coach Palmer asked for his finals
He had his back like a spinal meanwhile
We singing the same old song spinning the vinyl
11 graders gone wrong
He focused on the NBA we focused on some Patron
Now watch that black boy fly

“Black Boy Fly” dives into the stereotype that the only way for an African-American to reach success is through sports or music. Although Kendrick praises those who fly, the emotion he put into the hook makes it seem like it’s same ol’ same ol’ in Compton. Blacks becoming rappers or athletes is the only way out. When addressing whether he is in fact jealous of Arron Afflalo and Game he raps, “I wasn’t jealous ’cause of the talents they got, I was terrified they’ll be the last black boys to fly, out of Compton.” Compton has consistently been churning out successful people like the Williams sisters, Pete Rozelle, Dr. Dre, and more recently people like Tyga and of course Kendrick. It’s not that Kendrick doesn’t believe in Compton’s talents, it’s that he doesn’t fully believe in the way success is achieved. Very few athletes or musicians maintain their successful lifestyle, and not everyone is born with musical or athletic talents. Only a selected few can achieve success meaning that everyone in Compton can’t play in the NBA, so they have to look elsewhere for success. So maybe, just maybe, Kendrick is telling his fellow people to pursue other means of success such as through education.

With jealousy now explained, let’s jump to Lamar’s first verse where he looks at the attention his good friend Arron Afflalo got while in high school. One line of interest is when Lamar raps, “[Afflalo] dug inside of his book bag when Coach Palmer asked for his finals.” We all know Kendrick isn’t jealous, but we can see that Kendrick feels depreciated when coach, and the school in general, give the star athlete all of their attention. Kendrick is just an on-looker with nothing to do but drown in swimming pools of liquor. Maybe that’s why Compton is full of crime too, teachers give the star athletes all of the attention. This tiny exchange where Coach Palmer asks Arron for his final goes a long way in solidifying the theme of the track. Nobody was asking Kendrick for his report because nobody pays normal kids like Kendrick any mind. Kendrick wasn’t given “determination, ambition, plus dedication and wisdom.” Teachers just assume that he’s not worth the time. No matter how good a kid is, he’s only as good as the environment he’s in. Because teachers couldn’t care less about Lamar, he’s diving into liquor with his friends. You can blame Kendrick and his friends all day for not taking control of their lives, but remember that they’re just kids. They don’t have the guidance that the star athletes like Afflalo have.

Eventhough this track was just a bonus, it is one of the most active tracks on the entire album. Many tracks dealt with a lot of Lamar’s personal issues that could be traced back to problems in the culture, but “Black Boy Fly” looked at the school system in a completely different way. A “cliche” conscious rapper would’ve looked at the crappy teachers. In this case, teachers aren’t necessarily crappy, they’re just careless with non-star students. Kendrick was very blunt in his critique, but like Kendrick always does, he tip-toed the boundaries to perfection. He didn’t attack the stereotype, he went straight to the root. Compton schools and the Compton culture in general think that the only way to reach success is through sports or music. That is false, but if it works, hey, let that black boy fly. Kendrick, you killed it.

Written by @QuezKHH, like me on facebook.

Comments

16 Responses to “1 Verse, 1 Hearse #22, Kendrick Lamar – Black Boy Fly”

  1. treach on November 1st, 2012 5:03 pm

    Money trees jay rock verse deserve a hearse and art of peer pressure

    [Reply]

    ryan Reply:

    @treach, the entire art of peer pressure song is in a hearse.

    [Reply]

  2. The Royal One on November 1st, 2012 5:12 pm

    Nice verse. I forgot about the song black boy fly since it’s a bonus track.

    Labels want deluxe albums these days for more money they mess with an artist body or work. That’s why I don’t like bonus tracks.

    All songs on an album should just be on an album because a lot of people like me won’t hear this song’s message.

    [Reply]

  3. Rotterdam on November 1st, 2012 6:25 pm

    i think the whole thing with the polarizing talk is about people start hating as soon as an artist gets such an amount of buzz like kendrick did. they automatically think criticizing mainstream rappers makes them smart. joke is on them tho, this album IS of fucking good quality. and im saying that without being able to place myself in a ”Sherane” kind of situation. the whole album, track by track is one big strory kendrick tells. even the backseat freestyle. you just need to listen closely and definetly dont skip the voicemail messages.

    [Reply]

    MosDef Reply:

    @Rotterdam, I have to agree with you. When u have artist like j Cole come out with below average debut albums in my opinion considering you know what they’re cape able of that’s when its easy to just say look what mainstream does to your music…in this case k dot still gets my props. Like u said u just need to listen closely n if you did you understand the story n the album I fully enjoyed. Is it a classic? To me no, at least not yet…There’s been good albums this year. As far as mainstream goes this take album of the year no questions asked.

    [Reply]

  4. Listen To Charlie on November 1st, 2012 8:37 pm

    One of my favorite tracks from the album, alongside with “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”, “Sing About Me/I’m Dyin’ Of Thirst”, “Now Or Never”, “Real” and “The Art Of Peer Presure”.
    This album is really a masterpice.
    I love to listen to it from first to last track.
    Feels like a movie.
    Made honor to the subtitle of the album (A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar).

    [Reply]

  5. Curt on November 1st, 2012 9:02 pm

    Wish he would have tried to push hiiipower at some point on this album a little more. Section 80 is still his best work so far but gkmc isn’t bad by any means

    [Reply]

    MosDef Reply:

    @Curt, homie where u been at! Haha

    [Reply]

    Curt Reply:

    @MosDef, I’ve been on the site it’s just been like once every 2, 3 days. I haven’t really had the need to comment. How’s LA?

    [Reply]

    MosDef Reply:

    @Curt, its good bro. Its suppose to be cold but its in the 70° range lol you should move already

    Curt Reply:

    @Curt, might be next year in like august with my gf. She’s looking for an internship out in cali somewhere. We’ll see

    MosDef Reply:

    @Curt, what kind of internship? If you need any connects for anything ill be glad to see if I can help..I’m involved with alot of city shit so who knows maybe I can help..

    Curt Reply:

    @MosDef, Something in communications. She’s got a degree. I’m just a pt so I can go wherever. Just hate the cold ass weather

    MosDef Reply:

    @Curt, wat kind of communications? My girls mom works with a company with plp with disabilities. I think they’re hiring there for plp that have comunnication/speech therapy . With a degree they get good money there..idk if that falls into the same category though

    [Reply]

    Curt Reply:

    @MosDef, No more for like developing ads for corporation type stuff I would think. Or managing the sales pitch type stuff. It’s pretty legit but I could talk to her about it. RIght now she’s still a senior so it wouldn’t really be till next year anyway

    [Reply]

  6. KDav on November 1st, 2012 9:58 pm

    Nice verse but I feel as the Sing About Me portion of Sing About Me, Im Dying of Thirst deserved a hearse.

    [Reply]

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