The most “vulnerable” song Kendrick Lamar has ever made
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The most "vulnerable" song Kendrick Lamar has ever made

It’s an undisputed fact that Kendrick Lamar is a once in a generation rapper. He has a way of conveying emotion that is seldom seen across any genre. However, during one song in particular, Kendrick truly laid his heart on the line, later admitting that it was his most “vulnerable” moment.

To Pimp A Butterfly elevated Lamar to the top of the pile in 2015, and it is still the zenith of his career. The rapper produced a masterclass that immediately felt seminal, and upon first listening, the very best of the genre knew it was a hip-hop classic. Tracks like ‘These Walls’, ‘Alright’, and the powerfully racially-charged song ‘The Blacker The Berry’ are stand out as moments on the record. However, another song means more to the rapper on a personal level as he expressed himself in a way very few could.

Kendrick has a skill set that allows him to shine a mirror up at society and look at the issues which define us all but rarely does he actually look at himself. While it’s easier for him to look outside rather than within, Lamar decided to deconstruct his darkest insecurities on ‘U’, and it remains the most fragile song he’s ever released.

The ‘U’ in the track that Lamar is referring to is himself, and the song begins with him repeatedly saying, “loving you is complicated” before heartbreakingly deconstructing his imposter syndrome and the reasons why he sees himself as a failure despite all the money, fame, and adulation.

At one point on the song, Kendrick raps: “You preached in front of 100, 000 but never reached her, I fuckin’ tell you, you fuckin’ failure you ain’t no leader, I never liked you, forever despise you I don’t need you, The world don’t need you, don’t let them deceive you”.

His battle with depression is something that Lamar has never hidden. Still, the artist had never been so frank about his suicidal thoughts before, and the rapper extracted the feelings that inhabit the darkest echelons of his brain on the track. “I’ve pulled that song not only from previous experiences, but, I think my whole life, I think everything is drawn out of that,” Lamar explained to MTV.

“Nothing was as vulnerable as that record,” he added. “So it’s even pulling from those experiences of coming up in Compton. It’s pulling from the experience of going through change and accepting change, that’s the hardest thing for man, accepting change.”

It’s a heartbreakingly honest song that took immense courage from Lamar not only to write but then share with the world. Judging from his comments and how they reflected him “accepting change”, seemingly opening up about these feelings that fog his mind was a cathartic experience that benefitted him hugely.

Eloquently writing about societal matters takes talent, but Kendrick showed inner strength to pen ‘U’, which is the bravest thing he’s ever done in his career to date.