The past few months, I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for DAMN. to drop by Kendrick Lamar. I have chosen my favorite track off the album, “Loyalty” ft. Rihanna. I chose verse 4 to discuss because I think it reflects the current state of America.
“Tell me who you loyal to
Is it money? Is it fame? Is it weed? Is it drink?
Is it comin’ down with the loud pipes and the rain?
Big chillin’, only for the power in your name
Tell me who you loyal to
Is it love for the streets when the lights get dark?
Is it unconditional when the ‘Rari don’t start?
Tell me when your loyalty is comin’ from the heart”
This passage stuck out to due to his rhetoric of asking multiple questions and the imagery of questioning what matters to you. The beat reminds me of “24k magic” by Bruno Mars and I think both songs sampled from an older track. Lamar’s music is typically political driven and this passage is a prime example. From a grammatical standpoint, Lamar relies on slang and doesn’t use any full sentences. This verse ends the song and has very little background music, sounding almost acoustic. Kendrick Lamar refers to the iconic symbol of a Ferrari in this verse, playing at the fact that so many rappers talk about them in their songs. He makes a general poke at what most people think hip hop culture is about and makes his audience question if these material objects really define you. The song’s message is about loyalty and how important it is in all aspects of your life.