By Joseph Rowan / LifeAtStart.com Reporter
Section.80 is Kendrick Lamar’s first studio album and the last album of his I will review.
Released on July 8th, 2011 Kendrick Lamar’s freshman album debuted at number 113 on the top US charts and 22 on the R&B charts. The album starts out with a skit featuring Kendrick talking to people around a campfire reminiscent of a church sermon.
The album features two main characters, Keisha and Tammy, two prostitutes. Kendrick uses his album as a platform to tell their stories, which he tells through several songs.
The album starts off with the song F*ck Your Ethnicity, which it mainly focuses about the exploration of racial issues and the idea that Kendrick doesn’t care what race his fans are and that he doesn’t want a racial divide between his fans, basically you can listen to him if you relate to his music.
Hol’ Up is Kendrick telling a story about a stewardess he meets on an airplane. Kendrick is really attracted to this stewardess and he begins to flirt with her and eventually has sexual intercourse with her on the airplane. The stewardess is actually a double meaning, she also represents Hip-Hop, basically symbolizing his love for Hip-Hop and rapping. Kendrick also thinks if he has sex with the stewardess the passengers will think he is a terrorist and the plane ends up getting grounded early.
A.D.H.D. is a song about Kendrick and his knowledge of various drugs. The name of the album itself references two things: Section 8 housing and the decade 1980’s, specifically how Ronald Reagan cut the funding for Section 8 housing in half. This was also the decade Kendrick was born, so it directly relates to him. The song itself is about the drug epidemic that happened in the 80’s and how the use of drugs (mostly crack cocaine) is very prevalent in his community and his generation.
The song No Makeup (Her Vice) is the first song out of three about the prostitutes Keisha and Tammy. The whole concept of the song is that Kendrick believes no girl needs to wear makeup to look beautiful and attractiveness comes from her personality and brains. Kendrick believes that makeup is used to hide themselves from the real world. The reliance on makeup also serves as a double meaning to alcoholism, Kendrick says “You ain’t gotta get drunk to have fun.”
Tammy’s Song (Her Evils) is a continuation of the story from No Makeup but while No Makeup focused more on Keisha, this song focuses more on Tammy. The story of the song is that both Keisha and Tammy had strong relationships with their boyfriends. Both Keisha and Tammy were very attractive and had many men like them, but they both stayed faithful. Then the men prove to be unfaithful and Keisha and Tammy find solace in each other.
Chapter Six is the continuation of the skit from F*ck your ethnicity
The song Ronald Reagan Era refers to the 1980’s when Ronald Reagan was president. Kendrick talks about how crack was an epidemic throughout his neighborhoods and the children born in that time had problems because of it. He really shows Compton in a dystopian type of image.
Poe Man’s dreams is a song that is debated. A lot of people think Kendrick references Edgar Allan Poe in the title to reference the way that Poe died (most likely alcohol poisoning), one of Kendrick’s vices, which is one of the main themes of the song. Other people believe he is referencing the way people in the South say poor, which would reference the poverty that plagues Compton.
In The Spiteful Chant Kendrick talks about overcoming adversity and becoming successful through his raps. Kendrick is also surrounded by fake people who want to benefit from his success which only makes him want to cut them off. Kendrick also masters his craft (rapping) and wants to become better and more successful.
Chapter 10 is the second interlude in the album, the skit in Chapter 10 continues from Chapter 6 and F*ck your Ethnicity.
Keisha’s Song (Her Pain) was written for Kendrick Lamar’s sister. Kendrick wrote this song to tell her to never become a prostitute. The parenthetical insert Her Pain is in reference to the pain prostitutes have to go through, the true pain of having to survive. Kendrick is not trying to demonize prostitution, but he is trying to develop her understanding why women resort to such things. The opening of the song is “Fancy girls on Long Beach Boulevard, Flagging down all of these flashy cars” which is one of the examples of imagery Kendrick uses to describe prostitution to his sister.
Rigamortus is when the body stiffens after death. Kendrick says “Don’t ask for your favorite rapper” which means he hypothetically killed your favorite rapper. Kendrick then uses rigor mortis in a hypothetical sense to describe your favorite rappers career being dead “This is rigamortus and it’s gorgeous when you die,” he isn’t “killing” you favorite rapper he is “killing” them all. Kendrick is separating himself from the others who are trying to steal the way he raps.
Kush & Corinthians (His Pain) is about the struggle between moral actions and his temptations and/or vices. Kendrick also talks about faith and if he will meet God, if he is worthy enough to be in Heaven. Kendrick uses juxtaposition at the end of the song with the phrase “Smoking my kush reading Corinthians” which illustrates the main theme of the song, the tension between God and humans.
Blow My High (Members Only) is Kendrick’s tribute song to artist Aaliyah.
Ab-Soul’s Outro is the second to last song on the album, which features the rapper Ab-Soul rapping about us being suppressed in society and we are just trying to find and form the real truth. He also says that you should form your own opinions instead of adopting his opinions and conforming to his beliefs. They find truth in the music they write, compose, and rap.
HiiiPoWer talks of self-enlightenment through reflection and action. The song touches on racial topics, subjects, and figures in the past and present. Kendrick references Civil Rights leader Malcolm X in the line “Malcolm X put a hex on my future, someone catch me.” The title is also stylized like Po We R (Poor We Are) which references poverty, and poverty is a main topic throughout the album. HiiiPoWer is also referencing the way of thinking with higher expectations and achieving richness in your body and mind.
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