top of page

Behind the Lyrics - Kendrick Lamar: "HUMBLE"

Updated: May 3, 2023


(Photo Credit - Renell Medrano)


I'm back in courses and a teacher, and so, I have reverted back to listening to music to keep the words popping up on the bright, stark document. However, as many of you can relate I'm sure, I have limited time to go hunting for new songs. Luckily, I have a younger sister, who keeps me young - Ha! She came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and I complained that I couldn't find any new music to help me focus on schoolwork. Folks, she answered, and now, I cannot wait to share all the songs out there that are just waiting for a critical eye on.

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to get to a Kendrick Lamar song, and I know he isn't new, but when my sister brought up the Super Bowl performance like he was a new artist, I realized the power of music in different settings. Different times, settings, events, they affect how the music relates to us.

But, woah, let's just jump in. There is a lot to process.

"HUMBLE." Kendrick Lamar

Nobody pray for me It's been that day for me Waaaaay (yeah, yeah!) Ayy, I remember syrup sandwiches and crime allowances Finesse a n**** with some counterfeits, but now I'm countin' this Parmesan where my accountant lives; in fact, I'm downin' this D'USSÉ with my boo bae tastes like Kool-Aid for the analysts Girl, I can buy yo' ass the world with my paystub Ooh, that pussy good, won't you sit it on my taste buds? I get way too petty once you let me do the extras Pull up on your block, then break it down: we playin' Tetris A.M. to the P.M., P.M. to the A.M., funk Piss out your per diem, you just gotta hate 'em, funk If I quit your BM, I still ride Mercedes, funk If I quit this season, I still be the greatest, funk My left stroke just went viral Right stroke put lil' baby in a spiral Soprano C, we like to keep it on a high note It's levels to it, you and I know Bitch, be humble (hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, lil', hol' up, lil' bitch) Be humble (hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, sit down, lil', sit down, lil' bitch) Be humble (hol' up, hol' up) Bitch, sit down (hol' up, hol' up, lil' bitch) Be humble (lil' bitch, hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, hol' up, hol' up, hol' up) Be humble (hol' up, hol' up) Sit down (hol' up, hol' up, lil', hol' up, lil' bitch) Be humble (hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, sit down, lil', sit down, lil' bitch) Be humble (hol' up, hol' up) Bitch, sit down (hol' up, hol' up, lil' bitch) Be humble (lil' bitch, hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, hol' up, hol' up, hol' up) Who dat n**** thinkin' that he frontin' on Man-Man? Get the fuck off my stage, I'm the Sandman (Sandman) Get the fuck off my dick, that ain't right I make a play fucking up your whole life I'm so fuckin' sick and tired of the Photoshop Show me somethin' natural like afro on Richard Pryor Show me somethin' natural like ass with some stretch marks Still will take you down right on your mama's couch in Polo socks Ayy, this shit way too crazy, ayy, you do not amaze me, ayy I blew cool from AC, ayy, Obama just paged me, ayy I don't fabricate it, ayy, most of y'all be fakin', ayy I stay modest 'bout it, ayy, she elaborate it, ayy This that Grey Poupon, that Evian, that TED Talk, ayy Watch my soul speak, you let the meds talk, ayy If I kill a nigga, it won't be the alcohol, ayy I'm the realest n**** after all Bitch, be humble (hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, lil', hol' up, lil' bitch) Be humble (hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, sit down, lil', sit down, lil' bitch) Be humble (hol' up, hol' up) Bitch, sit down (hol' up, hol' up, lil' bitch) Be humble (lil' bitch, hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, hol' up, hol' up, hol' up) Be humble (hol' up, hol' up) Sit down (hol' up, hol' up, lil', hol' up, lil' bitch) Be humble (hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, sit down, lil', sit down, lil' bitch) Be humble (hol' up, hol' up, hol' up, hol' up) Bitch, sit down (hol' up, hol' up, lil' bitch) Be humble (lil' bitch, hol' up, bitch) Sit down (hol' up, hol' up, hol' up, hol' up)

If you haven't heard this song, I'm going to suggest you take a minute and listen to it. You'll be chanting it to yourself in the mirror periodically. Haha. This song was one of the first songs my teenage sister found after the Super Bowl, and she related to it. She related to an artist who is significantly older than her and from a very different background. How? Why? Why was this Super Bowl so successful?

The answer to all of these questions is simple and profound at the same time -- "HUMBLE." Lamar does a very clever thing with his lyrics -- he tells his story. Most artists who are honest and reference their own life experiences do well. Look at Adele as another example. Lamar is outspoken on the fact that he tells his songs like it is, and we see this in the lyrics above saying, "I remember syrup sandwiches and crime allowances" all an allusion to his childhood growing up in Compton. He processes this, and much more, but then, he moves into --

"I'm so fucking sick and tired of Photoshop".

Yes, let's go.

Lamar does a few things really, really well.

1. Allusions that tell the grittiness of his life in a way that fits the style of his music.

2. Highlighting what he has been able to accomplish in creative -- "If I quit this season, I still be the greatest, funk" manner.

3. Tying it all together into a real, catchy main message -- "Bitch, be humble. Sit down."

I could go on and on about this, but this is truly why this works. He has style. He isn't afraid of the truth and being creative, and he relates to everyone by having that message in a format that can reach everyone.

We've all been there; yes, even those of us who struggle with self-esteem, where we get a bit big for our britches. We need Lamar's beating, lively words in our ear -- "Bitch, be humble. Sit down" to remind us that we are ALL in this together, and in order for us to be successful, we all have to shine. Until next time.

976 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page