The Power of Music
If anyone knows how to perfect lyrical composition, it’s Kendrick Lamar.
Lamar’s new album Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers consisting of 18 tracks, touches on relevant issues in politics and personal anecdotes. His signature style and lyrical composition shine through on his track “Mother I Sober”.
This track details Lamar’s childhood trauma and the ways trauma can repeat itself through generations. Generally, the hip-hop world shies away from personal or deep anecdotes in music. The hip-hop and rap genres are curated to remain fun and lighthearted. However, this track is a personal call to generational trauma and details Kendrick’s life experiences that made him stronger.
Lamar is often referred to as a “lyrical Genius”, and his opening line in the track “Mother I Sober” sets his intentions for the song.
“I’m sensitive, I feel everything, I feel everybody”.
Moreover, throughout his album, Lamar details how his experience in therapy has made him more in touch with his emotions. He is not scared to open up about how he feels and has made personal progress.
Lamar’s Generational Trauma
Moreover, while Kendrick details his traumatic experiences as a child and throughout his life, he most importantly highlights the long-term effects these traumas have. Lamar has a close relationship with his mother and in his song, he reflects on not being able to intervene when she was abused. Kendrick uses his music to bring awareness to taboo subjects that are constantly pushed under the rug in the hip-hop and rap community.
Some of the lyrics read:
“I know the secrets, every other rapper sexually abused
I see ’em daily buryin’ they pain in chains and tattoos
So listen close before you start to pass judgment on how he move”
Vulnerability by Kendrick and artists like him, open new doors for more personal lyrics in songwriting. In a society where men are encouraged to be stronger than their emotions, Kendrick completely flips that narrative. Moreover, growing up in Compton, Kendrick knows first-hand what it’s like to fend for oneself .
Additionally, Lamar touches on the pattern of Black male rappers experiencing the same generational trauma of assault. The community he and many other rappers come from discourages the necessary coping mechanisms for someone who has experienced this type of trauma.
Additionally, rappers are judged and ridiculed for their promiscuous or dangerous behavior. However, Lamar argues in favor of them insinuating these behaviors are coping mechanisms. Rappers like Kevin Gates, Denzel Curry , and Lil Wayne have shared their experiences similar to Lamars.
Breaking The Generational Curse
“You did it, I’m proud of you
You broke a generational curse
Say “Thank you, dad”
Thank you, daddy, thank you, mommy, thank you, brother
Moreover, throughout the song, Lamar details how he broke the generational curse by healing himself through therapy. Because Lamar asked for help and healed himself, his son does not need to worry about repeating the past. “Mother I Sober” tells a story from start to finish. In the ending lyrics above, Lamar’s son thanks him for ending the generational curse which will no longer repeat itself.
Lastly, many artists turn to music as a coping mechanism for trauma. However, Lamar takes this a step further and utilizes music to tell his story. By doing so, Lamar opens doors for other artists with similar experiences to break their generational curses.
You can listen to Kendrick Lamar’s new song “Mother I Sober” and his other tracks on Apple Music and Spotify.