[READ] Pulitzer-Winning Michael Chabon Deciphers Kendrick Lamar's "Blacker the Berry" on 'Genius'

By Ian Holubiak on Feb 11, 2015 04:59 PM EST

Kendrick Lamar's "The Blacker the Berry" was released last night, Feb. 11, and has sparked and online parade of intellectualism. That is, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys) has deciphered a portion of the song's lyrics for the annotation dot-com Genius.

According to Complex, the winning novelist and screenwriter used her "deep understanding of metaphors" to seemingly deduce the rapper's intentions -- and, perhaps, its intertextuality.

As the lyrics read in Lamar's anthem, "So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street? / When gang banging make me kill a n***a blacker than me / Hypocrite!"

Chabon has pulled the thread to unravel the sweater.

Thus, Chabon wrote:

In this final couplet, Kendrick Lamar employs a rhetorical move akin to -- and in its way even more devastating than -- Common's move in the last line of "I Used to Love H.E.R.": snapping an entire lyric into place with a surprise revelation of something hitherto left unspoken. In "H.E.R.," Common reveals the identity of the song's "her" -- hip-hop itself -- forcing the listener to re-evaluate the entire meaning and intent of the song. Here, Kendrick Lamar reveals the nature of the enigmatic hypocrisy that the speaker has previously confessed to three times in the song without elaborating: that he grieved over the murder of Trayvon Martin when he himself has been responsible for the death of a young black man. Common's "her" is not a woman but hip-hop itself; Lamar's "I" is not (or not only) Kendrick Lamar but his community as a whole.

Whether you believe it or not, the post certainly has merit strictly on the accolades of its creator. So why not try and adopt it?

Until then, here is "The Blacker the Berry" below:

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TagsKendrick Lamar, Michael Chabon, The Blacker the Berry, Wonder Boys, Trayvon Martin, Complex, Genius, Pitchfork, H.E.R., Common

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