Song of the Day #3,505: ‘DNA’ – Kendrick Lamar

Lorde’s ‘Green Light’ lands at #4 in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll, giving women artists three of the top four spots. Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DNA’ rounds out the top five, giving him the best showing in a top ten that is split between men who rap and women who pop (plus Cardi B, a woman who raps).

I kind of get the praise for this song, though it by no means wins me over to the Kendrick Lamar cult. It’s more interesting lyrically and musically than anything else of his I’ve heard.

I especially like the sample of Geraldo Rivera, taken from a criticism he aimed at Lamar during a Fox News broadcast. The old, white Fox News demographic doesn’t realize that, despite recent victories, they have already lost the cultural war.

[Verse 1: Kendrick Lamar]
I got, I got, I got, I got—
Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
Cocaine quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA
I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA
I got hustle though, ambition flow inside my DNA
I was born like this, since one like this, immaculate conception
I transform like this, perform like this, was Yeshua new weapon
I don’t contemplate, I meditate, then off your fucking head
This that put-the-kids-to-bed
This that I got, I got, I got, I got—
Realness, I just kill shit ’cause it’s in my DNA
I got millions, I got riches buildin’ in my DNA
I got dark, I got evil, that rot inside my DNA
I got off, I got troublesome heart inside my DNA
I just win again, then win again like Wimbledon, I serve
Yeah, that’s him again, the sound that engine in is like a bird
You see fireworks and Corvette tire skrrt the boulevard
I know how you work, I know just who you are
See, you’s a, you’s a, you’s a—
Bitch, your hormones prolly switch inside your DNA
Problem is, all that sucker shit inside your DNA
Daddy prolly snitched, heritage inside your DNA
Backbone don’t exist, born onside a jellyfish, I gauge
See, my pedigree most definitely don’t tolerate the front
Shit I’ve been through prolly offend you, this is Paula’s oldest son
I know murder, conviction
Burners, boosters, burglars, ballers, dead, redemption
Scholars, fathers dead with kids and
I wish I was fed forgiveness
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, soldier’s DNA
Born inside the beast, my expertise checked out in second grade
When I was 9, on-sale motel, we didn’t have nowhere to stay
At 29, I’ve done so well, hit cartwheel in my estate
And I’m gon’ shine like I’m supposed to, antisocial, extrovert
And excellent mean the extra work
And absentness what the fuck you heard
And pessimists never struck my nerve
And Nazareth gonna plead his case
The reason my power’s here on earth
Salute the truth, when the prophet say

[Bridge: Kendrick Lamar & Geraldo Rivera]
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
“This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years”
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
I live a better life, I’m rollin’ several dice, fuck your life
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
I live a better, fuck your life
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
This is my heritage, all I’m inheritin’
Money and power, the mecca of marriages

[Verse 2: Kendrick Lamar]
Tell me somethin’
You mothafuckas can’t tell me nothin’
I’d rather die than to listen to you
My DNA not for imitation
Your DNA an abomination
This how it is when you’re in the Matrix
Dodgin’ bullets, reapin’ what you sow
And stackin’ up the footage, livin’ on the go
And sleepin’ in a villa
Sippin’ from a Grammy and walkin’ in the buildin’
Diamond in the ceilin’, marble on the floors
Beach inside the window, peekin’ out the window
Baby in the pool, godfather goals
Only Lord knows I’ve been goin’ hammer
Dodgin’ paparazzi, freakin’ through the cameras
Eat at Four Daughters, Brock wearin’ sandals
Yoga on a Monday, stretchin’ to Nirvana
Watchin’ all the snakes, curvin’ all the fakes
Phone never on, I don’t conversate
I don’t compromise, I just penetrate
Sex, money, murder — these are the breaks
These are the times, level number 9
Look up in the sky, 10 is on the way
Sentence on the way, killings on the way
Motherfucker, I got winners on the way
You ain’t shit without a body on your belt
You ain’t shit without a ticket on your plate
You ain’t sick enough to pull it on yourself
You ain’t rich enough to hit the lot and skate
Tell me when destruction gonna be my fate
Gonna be your fate, gonna be our faith
Peace to the world, let it rotate
Sex, money, murder — our DNA

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,505: ‘DNA’ – Kendrick Lamar

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I agree that this is provocative, but it still doesn’t draw me in as something I feel the need to ever hear again.

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    Nice to see Don Cheadle but this is not my cup of tea

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