- Mon, 2011-06-06 16:34
Kendrick Lamar is one of the hottest new tips on the hip hop scene at the moment. Coming straight outta Compton, California, the young emcee released first gained himself a reputation at 16 with his boldly titled debut EP, Youngest Head Nigga In Charge. That was back in 2003, and he’s been building his stock ever since, touring with Tech N9ne and Jay Rock, as well as working in the studio with Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre. With a series of successful mixtapes under his belt, this year will see his debut studio album drop, produced alongside J.Cole & Dre and going by the title Section 80.
HiiiPower is the first taste of that album. Produced by J.Cole, it’s a laid-back groove with a contemplative vibe, and Lamar uses it to expound upon self-empowerment. Opening with the couplet “the sky is falling, the wind is calling, stand for something or die in the morning,” a brief and enigmatic written statement flashes up before the track kicks in. Over the course of the track Lamar name-checks the social activists Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Marcus Garvey, and in a couplet that alludes to the Illuminati demands that people “get up off the slave ship, build your own pyramids, write your own hieroglyphs.”
The accompanying video cuts between Lamar delivering his vocals in a featureless warehouse and news footage of people’s movements from across the globe, from ‘40s India to ‘60s America to contemporary Tunisia and Egypt. It concludes with Lamar undergoing a symbolic self-immolation.
Powerful words and powerful visuals from a man who’s bound to make a big impact.