Given that this song is a “Bonus Track” it is very hard to find anything such as performances and even covers by other artists. What I realized though it’s that a lot of Kendrick fans talk a lot about this song on Reddit forums and usually refer to it as one of Kendricks’s “most underrated songs”. I’m not sure if the idea of a bonus track plays into the role of a song being underrated or less heard of but it’s something I’m starting to explore as I go about my podcast. 

Nonetheless, I did find a short film that basically acts out the lyrics of the song and it gives out its own spin. The film gives the song more context and it’s about a guy who had a future (had plans to go to college to get an education and play sports) and it shows how just like in the song lyrics, he begs his mom to help him out. The film gives even more context by letting the viewer know that the mom had to work two jobs and was a single mother. Although this context isn’t from the song it does bring up good points and it betters my understanding of the song by bringing up issues that are very likely because of how common they are. The film also brings out the issue of hanging out with the wrong people at the wrong time which leads me to think about the many people who had better opportunities, and a better future ahead of them and because of their environment they end up in jail. The take of this short film on the song was representing the struggles of those who live in environments that may not represent them but they have no resources nor another choice but to live there. This context helps me understand issues that might play a role in the incarceration of a person. Most of these issues are based on systematic racism (low-income neighborhoods being filled with gang violence, not being able to get a proper education, having to work more than one job to survive and provide for your family and etc). A very unpleasant take that sadly happens to be true and is still very prevalent today.  


In addition, another piece of text that I found was a cover of the song. It wasn’t much of a cover because it had its own spin today as well as the film but it sampled the whole song. Something interesting I found about this cover was the delivery. It was sung just like Kendrick did, with frustration that almost becomes desperation. At the end of the cover the singer, Remrokk, added a scene from the movie “Boyz in the Hood” that basically covers the same things from the short film. In the cover the scene from the movie says this, ​​” I’ll tell you why. For the same reason that there is a liquor store on almost every corner in the black community. Why? They want us to kill ourselves”. The cover indirectly addresses issues of gentrification, guns, etc affecting the Black community. All of these issues were created by no other than white supremacy and it continues through bigger issues like mass incarceration. 

After writing this blog post I’m left wondering if the topic of the song, mass incarceration, is a reason why the song is overlooked. There are many rap songs that talk about this theme, but since it’s such a problem and it’s become normalized to go to prison here in the United States, especially as a person of color I’m left wondering if the audience fails to pay attention to songs who address this issue because they just think is part of a “lifestyle”.


Isabella Colina Hidalgo