LISTEN: Kendrick Lamar Drops New Track “The Blacker The Berry”

"So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street?"

Less than one day after his two Grammy wins for “i,” Kendrick Lamar has unveiled a new song. Dropping the track through Taraji P. Henson‘s (Empire, Hustle & Flow) Twitter, the LA native’s latest has a drastically different tone from the upbeat banger that earned him the golden gramophones on Sunday, but is just as, if not more, important.

Taking its name from Wallace Thurman’s influential 1929 Harlem Renaissance novel, “The Blacker The Berry” is a powerful, building track fraught with internal and external conflict. Flying over a basic, but satisfying, beat and an eerie underlying loop, Lamar takes on the longstanding racial tension and hypocrisy currently at the forefront of the public consciousness through commanding, rapid-fire lyrics on the Boi-1da-produced track.

Starting all three verses with “I’m the biggest hypocrite of 2015,” Lamar turns away from the “I love myself” mantra of “i” and dives deep into the very real and prevalent issues of racial divide and what it means to be an African-American male today (“I’m African-American, I’m African / I’m black as the heart of a fuckin’ Aryan”).

“The Blacker The Berry” comes at you like a freight train, themes and ideas quickly thundering out one after another, but the final minute or so is a slow and thoughtful outro. A brilliantly structured think piece within the guise of a post-Grammys sonic victory lap, Lamar clearly isn’t content to rest on his laurels—he’s already onto his next, impactful move.

According to Henson’s tweet debuting the track, “The Blacker The Berry” will appear on Lamar’s follow-up to 2012’s Good Kid, M.a.a.d City, which has not been officially announced yet.

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