I’ve had a lot of people telling me I should like Kendrick Lamar for a while now, and it’s not that I’m unimpressed by his work, quite the opposite, but there’s just always been some little something that puts me off about his delivery, and I’ve not been able to call myself a full-fledged fan quite yet. However, in my experience, this reason for not listening to a certain artist is usually not well founded, and I’ve overcome many a superficial dislike of an artist by continuing to give them a chance and trying to find just the right song to teach me how to overlook whatever small quibble I have with their style and just embrace it. It boggles my mind to think that there was a time when I cringed just enough at Lil’ Wayne’s rap style to not listen to his music, and that opinion has absolutely reversed over time.
So in that spirit, I decided today to put in a concerted effort to give Kendrick another chance, and with my somewhat forced-open mind, this song has hooked me in a stronger way than any of his others so far. The way his voice cracks on certain words perfectly compliments his painfully honest message about feeling fortunate in so many ways despite his obvious flaws; his sincerity is completely undeniable and he does an amazing job of being introspective without becoming self-indulgent or self-involved in the process. I remember hearing this when it first came out and feeling slightly moved by it, perhaps perceiving a small portion of what I now understand about it, but I don’t think I was listening quite close enough to it to really appreciate everything that is going on in this song until today, and I think I may have found that gateway song for myself that could get me onboard the Kendrick Lamar train.
And if nothing else, the song’s got a really nice build in it, so I can at least have something continue my New Year’s-born series with by posting of this song.
BJ the Chicago Kid – His Pain (feat. Kendrick Lamar)