Analysis Of Kendrick Lamar's “Element”

Kendrick Lamar is no stranger to being outspoken about his political ideas and social commentary. However, when analyzing “Element” and the music video released alongside it, it shows another deeper side of Kendrick. For example, the song opens with Kendrick in a sort of sympathetic tone talking about how he holds the problem of violence in black community’s close to him, specifically saying that he has “cried for this”, and that he is “willing to die for this”. Kendrick even goes as far to say the he “might take a life for this”, which shows the passion he has toward facing these problems. In the video, these lyrics are accompanied by a black community looking on as fire ensues, almost as if saying that people in these communities can only be spectators to the violence not being able to do something. Kendrick continues with a personal account of the violence he has faced in his community growing up, saying that he has “been stomped out in front of [his] momma”. Kendrick goes on to further say that even though he has grown and gain success the threat of violence is still looming over him with the “feds still watchin”. In the video as these lyrics play on different scenes of violence towards black communities are flashed to the viewer. These scenes vary between black on black violence, police violence, and even violence at the hand Kendrick himself showing that he has also been a part of the problem. Earlier in the video Kendrick depicts a father teaching his child how to fight presumably out of necessity, given the events that can occur in their community. This song and video cover several real-life issues that black communities face in America today, and it does an incredible job at it. It gives the problems more clarity and allows the viewer to peak into a harsher reality of our current society, to spark a call to action.


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