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Kendrick Lamar? Yawn

Yes, he won a Pulitzer, has visually interesting videos and his bars are elite… but can you imagine this guy at a dinner party? He seems completely insufferable. Please spare us!
Thu, May 12, 2022

Every couple of years, like the perennial locust swarms that plague the horn of Africa, Kensanity sweeps across the world. If you’ve never heard of it, Kensanity is a pandemic that is triggered every time Kendrick Lamar releases an album.

The symptoms are obvious and spread like wildfire. K dot announces an album, drops a video and immediately the listening public falls into throes of audio orgasm. Everyone turns into a Fanonian style rap critic and becomes convinced that the Pulitzer Prize winner is the Marina Abramović of rap.

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Here is the thing. Kendrick is a PHENOMENAL rapper. He really is. He weaves words together like a woke Shakespeare. Unfortunately for me, I am one of the few people breathing who cannot stand him.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First off, rap’s version of Rupi Kaur, is often lauded for making incredible concept albums – and he does. But an album that needs to be listened to backwards hardly gets to be the pinnacle of aural concept art when Lupe Fiasco’s concept for Drogas Wave was a group of vengeful slaves whose spirits attack slave ships after theirs sinks.

Secondly, Kendrick’s visuals are cool. Artistic, even, but he’s certainly not the top of his class. As annoying as he is, Kanye has better visuals. In fact, an argument could be made that if you never heard either of their lyrics and watched both sets of videos silently, The Weeknd would come out on top.

Third would be his bars... Nope can’t find fault there. The man is what would’ve happened if James Baldwin and Angela Davis had a baby.

All of that is superficial, though. To be honest, my Kendrick hate has nothing to do with his art. It has to do with his person. Or rather, the image he projects. Oh god what a bore he must be! I can't imagine he’s ever told a joke, danced like a goofball, or done something that made him look silly. He’s what an algorithm would make if its woke setting was at max and its humour setting was at zero.

No one in their right mind would invite him to a dinner party, but many would invite him to a panel discussion on the intersectionality of Pan Africanism and hip-hop. In fact, these are just some of the things I am 100% certain Kendrick would say or do at a dinner party:

  • Refuse to eat the food because it doesn’t come from a wholly black owned farm and he only partakes in sustenance born of the black dollar.
  • Bring his own Djembe drum.
  • Loudly tell everyone present that he is a direct descendent of ‘Shaka Zooloo’.
  • Quote Dr Louis Farrakhan.
  • Sigh heavily.
  • Explain the metaphysical inspiration for DAMN. and remind us that it won a Pulitzer Prize.
  • Use the phrase “urban vernacular” instead of slang.
  • Invite a slam poet.
  • Explain how the Kushite kings and queens were the first people to invent seasoning but their genius was erased from history to appease white supremacy, and that’s why he cannot pass you the salt.
  • Use “the feminisation of the black man” as a 30 Seconds clue (The answer? Big Momma's House).

Shame, all of this Kendrick vitriol only serves one purpose. I recognise and admire his talent. I am also happy to let people enjoy their things. Sing, dance and ruminate on all of the new Kendrick bars. I’m happy to let you relish your every man’s Lupe Fiasco. All I ask is that you leave me alone when I decide that I would much rather listen to Pusha T’s new project.

Editor's note:

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