The Blacker the Berry is a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was released on February 9, 2015 as the second single from his third studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly. The song's hook is performed by Jamaican dancehall artist Assassin, notable for performing on Kanye West's 2013 LP Yeezus, whose lyrics similarly address racial inequality, specifically against African Americans. It shares its title with the novel The Blacker the Berry by American author Wallace Thurman, which deals with similar themes of racism. The album version of the song also features additional vocals from neo soul singer Lalah Hathaway.
"The Blacker the Berry" is a racially-charged song, noted for being a departure from the "self-love-promoting" "i", a single released in late 2014. The song features a "boom-bap beat", with lyrics that celebrate his African-American heritage, and "tackles hatred, racism, and hypocrisy head on." Lamar introduces the themes with lyrics such as; "Came from the bottom of mankind / My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide / You hate me don’t you / You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture / You’re fucking evil / I want you to recognize that I’m a proud monkey / You vandalize my perception, but can’t take style from me."
The song, however, contains a deeper meaning of the dangers of hypocrisy. Every verse in the song begins with "I'm the biggest hypocrite of 2015", followed by Lamar stating issues of racism in society. The final lyric — "So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street? / When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me? / Hypocrite! " — reframes the meaning of the piece, and demonstrates an internal struggle within Lamar and the African-American community about issues of racism and events such as the death of Trayvon Martin. Lamar notes the hypocrisy of black men mourning Martin's death while also themselves committing violent acts against black men, forcing the listener to consider the complexity and perhaps inevitability of the hypocrisy discussed throughout the song. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.