“Sit down. Be HUMBLE.” were the lyrics that rang around the world when Kendrick Lamar dropped the audio and eye-popping visuals for his new single “HUMBLE.” The song was an ode to Kendrick’s accomplishments as one the best lyricists in the industry and how his peers should take heed and sit down and humble themselves. The rattling Mike WiLL Made It trap beat hits hard and gives Kendrick ample opportunity to kick his way through the hip hop doors and announce that he is about to drop a high octane album on us soon.
The video starts off with Kendrick in high-ranking religious garb swathed in a beam of light and continues with striking imagery of black men’s heads rapped in rope and set ablaze with fire, as well as images of Kendrick and his pals set up in the “Last Supper” formation with Kendrick placed in Jesus’ spot. The video has intense meaning for black men and the hip hop industry in general, but the lyric that really sparked a full-on fire of discussion were the lyrics, “I am so sick and tired of the photoshop. Show me something natural like the Afro on Richard Pryor.”
In a previous interview with T Magazine, Kendrick stated that he would be taking a women-centered approach to his album with the thought in mind that one day his daughter will grow up and tell him about her experiences with men and how we wants to be open to that discussion with her. In my opinion, this lyric did exactly what he was saying and was much needed to prompt an important discussion. While he had well-meaning intentions, women’s appearances of looking “natural” or “unnatural” is solely her own choice and men shouldn’t want to mold women into what makes fitting eye-candy for them.
Alas, that was a mere misunderstanding that hopefully Kendrick can learn from, which to me is the entire point of the song. “HUMBLE.” is teaching us all to get off our high horse and look at ourselves and others.
Although, there is speculation about when the new album will drop, Kendrick hinted to the date on his track “The Heart Part 4”, which he released a week before “HUMBLE.” “You know what time it is, ante up, this is in forever. Y’all got until April 7 to get your shit together.” With April 7 only a few days away, his peers only have a few days before they need to stay humble.