Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Talkin 'Bout Kendrick Lamar's Hip Hop Track "Alright" (Excerpts From YouTube Comment Thread)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides a compilation of selected comments from Kendrick Lamar's Hip Hop Track "Alright".

The content of this post is presented for sociocultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Kendrick Lamarr for this music and its message. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

Prior to beginning this post, I happened upon this comment on another site:
[You can] "pick a video, any video, and read the comments. YouTube is a well-known cesspool of commenting"*

I largely agree with that comment. But, I also believe that some YouTube comments are informative, insightful, interesting, and sometimes well written and/or witty. I believe those YouTube comments -and others- can be considered folkloric and cultural artifacts that should be documented, shared, and studied.

It's pancocojams policy not to embed videos or comments that that include profanity, what is now widely known as the n word, and other explicit content. Such a policy means that a lot of Hip Hop videos and comments from those videos' discussion threads aren't featured on this site and I've been reluctant to even include hyperlinks to those videos. That leaves a HUGE gap in pancocojams' mission "to showcases the music, dances, and customs of African Americans and of other people of Black descent throughout the world."

For that reason, although I still won't embed those videos, I've decided to relax my stance about hyperlinking to certain Hip Hop videos in these pancocojams "Talkin 'bout" series of posts. I've also decided to judiciously include some excerpts of selected comments from the discussion threads of showcased Hip Hop videos. This is the first post in this ongoing series.

I've changed the spelling of all of the curse words that are found in these comments that are quoted below (e.g. "sh&t" and "f___k"). These changes are noted by an asterisk which indicates that the fully spelled words are found in these quoted comments. However, I've made no changes to abbreviations of curse words (profanity) that are found in those quoted comments (such as "wtf" and "tf").

These comments are a sub-thread of the YouTube discussion of Kendrick Lamar's Hip Hop Track "Alright". In this sub-thread various bloggers discussed Kendrick Lamar's creativity or lack of creativity, why he is popular, and whether his Hip Hop tracks merit that popularity.

In addition to these comments themselves, I'm interested in the dynamics of some YouTube comment exchanges.

All of these comments were published in January 2016. These comments are presented in chronological order with the oldest comments given first except for replies. However, these comments may not be in consecutive order as some comments in this particular sub-thread aren't included in this compilation for reasons of space and for other reasons. I've indicated that by posting this note: [Some other comments aren't included].

I've assigned numbers for referencing purposes only.

KendrickLamarVEVO, Published on Jun 30, 2015

To Pimp A Butterfly album out now

[Statistics as of February 10, 2016 9:53am EST:
Number of viewer hits - 41,771,533
Number of comments - (36,205)]
fwiw, I didn't read all of these comments. :o)

Best Bi
1. "WTF am I missing? I keep trying to see what the Kendrick Lamar hype is about... but I just can't. I don't get it. I can't stand any of his music."

2. jojo kyle
"+Best Bi Well you're probably just listening to his singles, his albums are much better together. He gets a lot praise for how cohesive and intricate his albums are."

3. tammy Free
"you just haven't opened your true eyes yet... its ok"

4. Sir Derp
"I don't really get it either. I can see the creativity in it but there is so much creativity that it doesn't even sound like music anymore. This song is less like this but some other songs in his album just sound like random sounds and words overlapping."

5. jojo kyle
"+Sir Derp You couldn't be more off lmaoo.
I guess it's just too much for you and that's a shame."

6. Sir Derp
"+jojo kyle I mean it's not me being off its just my opinion"

7. jojo kyle
"+Sir Derp You clearly don't understand, you just admitted it."

Best Bi
8. "+jojo kyle I, myself, said I don't get the hype. I keep listening to his music, but I can't stand it... so I don't get the hype. Because someone doesn't care for something doesn't mean there's something wrong with them. That's idiotic."

9. jojo kyle
"+Best Bi I never said something was wrong with you, I simple said you don't understand it.

And that's okay maybe one day you will when you're smarter or something but as of right now you don't understand, as you said yourself."

11. Best Bi
"+jojo kyle "when you're smarter or something"
That is what I'm talking about. I don't think your reading comprehension is quite there."

12. Sir Derp
"+jojo kyle Tf does intelligence have to do with liking or not liking music lol"

13. jojo kyle
"+Sir Derp It has a lot to do with understanding music, and if you understood this you'd probably like it, as your grips with his music is purely based on you not being to able to understand."

14. Sir Derp
"+Im A Hypbeast Like I understand the messages behind the music and it's unique and great that he managed to do that but I don't like the musical composition behind it."

15. Best Bi
"+jojo kyle Music is Subjective, young man. You are not "enlightened" because you like someone's music. I understand his music, I can hear the lyrics, comprehend the words, observe the visual art in his videos. What I can't understand is the hype. Get THAT through YOUR head. Also, +Im A Hypbeast thank you very much for a level headed response."

16. jojo kyle
"+Best Bi I never claimed to enlighted or anything.

You simply said you don't like this cause you don't understand it, and I said that's a shame.

It doesn't make me better than you or something, you just don't understand it, and maybe when you grow up you'll eventually come to understand it.
The "hype" as you call it comes from the fact that he is the only artist in the mainstream with content like this. Especially in his own genre of rap and hip hop which is so saturated with bullsh&t like drake and future.

He stands out as a well spoken forward thinking artist, with an ear for music.

His hype comes from being so one of a kind in mainstream, it's a pretty simple phenomenon i'm sure anyone can grasp it.
I guess i gave you too much credit."

17. Best Bi
"+jojo kyle You continually contradict yourself with your own words, kid. Your high horse has a lot of miles on it, I'm sure"

18. jojo kyle
"+Best Bi Translation you ain't got sh&t, for the last time i'm on no a high horse.

first you say you don't get the song, and say that's a shame

Then you say you don't get the "hype" and I clearly explained it.

I don't get you."

19. Best Bi
"+jojo kyle Again, reading comprehension is not your strong suit. I never said I don't get his music, I said I don't get the hype. I said I can't stand his music, there is a difference. Now, as I explained in my other reply I comprehend everything im hearing and seeing. However, I do not equate all of that with the hype. And last, your cases of telling somone they aren't smart enough, or that you gave them too much credit? Yeah, cringe-worthy nonsese from your high horse. That being said, stop confusing me for the other guy who also commented."

20. jojo kyle
"+Best Bi 1. No you don't understand it.
You claim to not like this kind of music, which makes me 100% sure you didn't listen to the album.
If you didn't listen to the album then there is no way you could possible hope to comprehend this song, as all the songs are connected and cohesive.
So you're just blatantly lying now.

2. I did confuse for the other guy who admitted to not understanding it, but regardless it also applies to you since you too don't understand it.

The song only makes sense having listened to the entire album and understanding all of it.
This is something you have not done.

Finally, you hate this kind of music, and you wonder why he is so popular.
Maybe because idk a lot of people like this kind of music or something?
It's all very basic stuff."

[Some other comments aren't included.]

21. Best Bi
"+jojo kyle "Stay ignorant..."

Irony train, choo choo."

[Some other comments aren't included.]

22. Goose
"Alright kids calm down!
+jojo kyle Even someone that listens to the whole album might not like it. Doesn't matter how cohesive it is. There's plenty of albums I've heard that are considered some of the best and I didn't really care for them. It's not about lacking comprehension, it's just a difference in taste. And +Best Bi is right about the high horse thing. You basically called him stupid because he doesn't like Kendrick Lamar. That's just a stupid thing to say. But's over now. You've both got your points across."

23. maric fu
"+Best Bi Kendrick has both flow and lyrics. if you listen to the music and follow the lyrics you may start to pick up what everyone else is. if you like 90s music or conscious rap you'll probally like kdot"

24. Best Bi
"+maric fu Thanks, maric"

[Some other comments aren't included.]

25. Goose
"+jojo kyle Just shut up already haha. He doesn't like Kendrick Lamar. You do like Kendrick Lamar. Enough said. Just let it die already."

[Some other comments aren't included.]

26. jojo kyle
"+Goose That's not what this is about, he just straight up lied in addition to asking why kendrick is so popular.

So I exposed him and then explained kendricks popularity.

It's already over"

[Some other comments aren't included.]

27. Ari Clark
"I had heard a couple of his singles before and thought he was alright (no pun intended), but after listening to TPAB last week for the first time in its entirety I was blown away. Even if the jazzy musical style used in a lot of the songs isn't your cuppa tea, the lyrical content and narrative is fantastic. Am yet to listen to his other albums but I hope they're even a fraction as immersive as this one."

28. TheLastofYOU
+jojo kyle
"It's possible to understand a song, and at the same time not understand why it's so popular. We as human beings have unique tastes. Some things that you like would make zero sense to some other people. None of your comments was necessary, to be honest.

Please go somewhere."

29. Livia John
+Best Bi listen to "the blacker the berry"!!!!!!! or watch the "i love myself" music video

30. Best Bi
"+Livia John Ok, will do."

31. Livia John
"+Best Bi tell me what you think after!"

32. Best Bi
"+Livia John Actually I listened to the blacker the berry twice now, haha. Had to put on a song for my twins (cool guy has a chill day) then I went and listened to it again. really like it. "I want you to recognize that I'm a proud monkey, you vandalize my perception but can't take style from me!" Love that! basically the lyrics and spit are fantastic on that. Ok, gona listen to the other one now."

[Some other comments aren't included.]

33. Larry Davidson
"+Best Bi Hello Best Bi I apologize for sll 5he condescending comments beforehand from other viewers. To answer your original question the hype is a combination of the type of music as well as the message. You've stated above that you're not a fam of this type of music and thats perfectly fine, everybody has their preferences. However the style of music, samples, etc. olay a large role in the actual message. You may understand the message but due to your musical taste you arent as intrigued as many others thetefore you arent part of the hype."

34. Larry Davidson
"+Best Bi also sorry for the typos"

[Some comments aren't included.]

35. TheLastofYOU
"+jojo kyle
You don't need to have listened to the album to understand the song lmao. He's saying 'We gonna be alright' basically saying he has faith that things will get better. If you pay attention to the video, they're living in the ghetto. There is violence everywhere and not even the police are making things better. They are the ones who seemingly killed him at the end.

Kendrick is saying that he'll survive through all of the madness shown in the video.

That's easy to infer. Me being a Kendrick fan though, know for a fact that it's more to the song than that. I'm just trying to speak in the mindset of someone not having heard the full album.

Man you are funny though. I remember a time when kids went outside to play and hang out with their friends. Now when kids get bored they go to YouTube and start arguments in the comment section. I'm sure you have a chalkboard on your wall in your room that says 'Internet Arguments Won: 58'

36. jojo kyle
"+TheLastofYOU Your analysis isn't even surface level, if you listened to the album you would know this song takes place between two other songs.

U, and For Free?
U is a song where kendrick confronts his depression, as he has hatred for himself for not being able to help, or be there for the ones he loves. He is out traveling the world helping young people make better choices, yet he fails to to help his own sister as she gets
pregnant at only 15 despite all he did to provent such a thing.
He is conflicted, cause while he is promoting self love with "i", he has hatred for himself.

"Loving you is complicated" as he refers to himself.
The songs ends with him nearly committing suicide in an hotel room.

In the intro to this song you can hear him screaming from inside his room.

Then alright starts and at this point kendrick is in a position where he accepts that he doesn't fully believe in himself or the things he is saying.

This is important context for alright, the truth behind this song is kendricks desperate attempts at re-assurance, he makes drastic claims to reassure those that believe in him like "We hate popo, wanna kills us dead in the street for sure", this line is there cause it's easy for an oppressed group to bond over hate, even though it's not a solution kendrick truly promotes.

Through out the song he puts on a facade like everything is going to be alright(this is mirrored with the up beat and hype production), when in reality he is currently on the edge, and suicidal nearly ending his own life cause he hates himself on the much darker,
"U", that plays directly before alright starts.

This song slides into the next "For Free"
where a depressed kendrick is confronted by lucy aka lucifer.
Lucy can see that kendrick doesn't believe in himself, and that he is weak, lucy takes this as an opportunity to take kendrick, lucy tries to tempt him while he is a dark and weak state.

Kendrick who can't even believe in his own words is desperate for a sense of freedom. The pressure of having so many fans rely on his empty words or reassurance is too much for him. He knows suicide is not an opposition since it would only hurt his loved ones, and lucy plans to take care of all his problems and ease his mind.

Some sources since you're not even gonna give the album a chance.
This video holds the M/V for "U, and For Free"
The context for alright.

Here kendrick talking about his suicide.

As you can see it is MUCH deeper than.
"Things are looking bad, but it's going to be okay :)"

And again, the next tracks "Momma" adds more and more, but this post is already long enough.
I applaud you if you get his far.
"popo" = police

[Some other comments in this sub-thread aren't included.]

This is the end of this comment compilation.

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