Alright – Kendrick Lamar


Alright is one of the singles off of Kendrick Lamar’s 3rd studio album To Pimp A Butterfly which was released in 2015. Alright gained popularity through its simple, yet repetitive chorus stating, “We gon’ be alright”. The song was used at protests around the country in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I am considering this to be one of the songs for the podcast for a number of reasons. Kendrick Lamar has been one of the strongest voices in rap during our time, especially when it comes to talking about political topics. Some concerns that I have for the song though are fully digesting the lyrics and all the meaning behind them. Lamar is such a dense rapper that sometimes lyrics are not as easy to digest as some of the other rappers out now. But this is both a concern and a benefit to choosing this song, because we can fully appreciate all that went into making it. Alright was a pivotal song during the rise of this movement and did what good rap does best – take a political situation, an ethical dilemma or a rebellion and write something that everyone will sing along to. The song starts out with just Kendrick rapping and some background people humming. The song has heavy jazz influences as well as a rap styled beat in the background. There are multiple voices that sing throughout the song, and there is a specific voice that sings the chorus. The singer of the chorus sounds confident that they “will be alright” and is good in projecting his voice in a way that makes people want to join in. There are also moments when the music cuts out to emphasize the words that Lamar is rapping at that time. At the end of the song, there are a couple verses of a poem that has been continuing throughout the entirety of the album. In the beginning lines he says, “All’s my life I has to fight N-word”. This is important because these are similar words used in the movie The Color Purple, a story about African American women during the 20th century. These lines specifically in the movie are recited by Oprah Winfrey’s character Sofia who talks about her abuse from different men in her life. Lamar later raps about the benefits to be a famous rapper such as money, cars, and women, but how sometimes it doesn’t matter how famous he is because he is still viewed as a black male in America. Throughout the whole song, Kendrick raps with confidence and passion, indicating to his audience that he truly thinks they are going to be okay and that change is going to happen. Whether he truly believes that, I am not sure, but the way that he is rapping the song makes it easy to believe he does.



Born This Way


Born This Way was the single off of Lady Gaga’s 2nd studio album Born This Way which was released in 2011. The song is an anthem and protest to the LGBTQIA community as well as people of color. The song gained popularity for its positive message and upbeat music. It did gain some negative pushback because it mentioned God while also talking about the LGBTQIA community – which some religions do not believe in. Lady Gaga has always been an advocate for the LGBTQIA community, the #Metoo movement, and other various movements supporting diversity along with rejecting judgement and hostility. Some concerns that I have with the song are that people will think that this is specifically just for one movement. While it does focus heavily on the LGBTQIA community, this song is really an anthem for everyone because it is rejecting body shamming of any kind. Therefore, I worry people wouldn’t appreciate it for what it is if they are only thinking about it in this context, but maybe I just don’t have enough faith in people. The song is upbeat and has a pop, disco sound to it. It is loud and makes you want to dance and sing along to it. During her voices, the music quiets down a bit so that we can fully hear the words and her vocal ability. As the chorus kicks in, it becomes loud and overcomes you with emotion and energy to just dance and sing along.  The chorus sings “I’m beautiful in my way, cuz God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track baby I was born this way”. She also repeats several times throughout the song, ‘Don’t be a drag, just be a queen’ harping on the term Drag Queen and saying to not “be a drag” and make fun of people for being different than you, but to be a “queen” and accept all the parts of you and exude confidence in yourself. Just like in Alright, Lady Gaga is singing with passion and confidence and is really practicing what she is preaching. She is showing love for her self through the passion in her voice and the lyrics and is making it easy for people to sing and believe that about themselves.