Song of the Day #5,288: ‘Count Me Out’ – Kendrick Lamar

Guest blogger Daniel continues his countdown of the year’s top albums…

Best Albums of 2022 – #5
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar

I vividly remember when this album dropped because it was the same day my family was going on a cruise. I thought to myself: “How will I be able to download this album on Apple Music in the middle of the ocean?” How could something I love so much cause me such an inconvenience?

All was good as luckily my parents had splurged in paying for some minutes of wi-fi in the interest of not ruining their respective Wordle streaks. Luckily, in this sacred time I was able to download the album and prepared myself emotionally for the journey I was about to go on both nautically and musically.

That night on the top bunk of my shared room with my sister in the darkness with the boat only mildly swaying I put in my AirPods and took in Pulitzer Prize Award winner Kendrick Lamar’s new album. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. It’s difficult when you’ve already cemented your position as #1 on so many people’s Top 5 lists so early in your career to continue evolving as an artist in a way that vindicates fans and critics alike.

Lamar opens by giving us an exciting qualifier/borderline threat: “I’ve been goin’ through somethin’, One-thousand eight-hundred and fifty-five days, I’ve been goin’ through somethin’, Be afraid”. From here he proceeds to essentially treat this album as his therapy session, literally including recordings of wise tidbits from conversations with his spiritual leader Eckhart Tolle (most famous up to this point for his talk show with Oprah). Kendrick’s catharsis is captivating, controversial, and confidently complex as ever.

I don’t mean to stress again the skyscraper high expectations placed upon Kendrick every time he spits on the mic, but they seem to plague him. On tracks like ‘Crown’ he continuously tries to convince himself that he must make music for himself. On the chorus his internal monologue croons “And I can’t please everybody. No, I can’t please everybody. Wait, you can’t please everybody. No, I can’t please everybody. I can’t please everybody.”

It seems with intense self-reflection and self work he has learned that he shouldn’t lead with the aim to please everybody, but he does a damn good job without trying. Lamar proves throughout this record that no one is able to tackle such nuanced issues with such fervor. On this album he employs his poetry to speak on issues of unresolved trauma from his father, the problematic nature in the prevalence of treating celebrities as saviors, and even boldly how the black community and Christians alike should become more open to the transgender community.

Kendrick maneuvers this tumultuous territory with a dexterity and hunger that could easily lead one to believe this is his debut album. Perhaps he never proves himself as seamlessly and as metaphysically as with ‘Count Me Out.’ With a chorus equally as bold and blatant as ‘Crown,’ Kendrick retorts “I love it when you count me out.” Normally when a rapper makes a claim this seemingly conceited you don’t feel the intense pride that comes with finishing this song that really serves as an anthem for accepting yourself.

The song begins with Kendrick recognizing the sins he’s committed in the past saying “One of these lives, I’ma make things right, With the wrongs I’ve done, that’s when I unite With the Father, Son, ’til then, I fight'” and ends with him reconciling with himself in saying “This is me, and I’m blessed.”

I have never been one to count Kendrick out. He’s proved himself as one of the most important voices of the black community for years now. In the past he gifted us with meaningful insights on systemic racism, police brutality, and empathy, evoking realities of life living in the projects. On this album he vulnerably shares how he has built himself back up after falling underneath the burden of carrying that weight. I’m so glad that Kendrick feels blessed that he exists as himself as that is the same way that so many of his supporters feel.

[Intro: Sam Dew, Eckhart Tolle & Whitney Alford]
We may not know which way to go on this dark road
(Mr. Duckworth)
All of these hoes make it difficult
Session 10, breakthrough

[Verse 1: Kendrick Lamar]
One of these lives, I’ma make things right
With the wrongs I’ve done, that’s when I unite
With the Father, Son, ’til then, I fight
Rain on me, put the blame on me
Got guilt, got hurt, got shame on me
Got six magazines that’s aimed at me
Done every magazine, what’s fame to me?
(And I’m tripping and falling)
It’s a game to me, where the bedroom at?
Sleep, I ain’t nevеr had affairs with that
What’s fair when the hearts and thе words don’t reach?
What’s fair when the money don’t take things back?
It’s rare when somebody take your dreams back
(And I’m tripping and falling)
I care too much, wanna share too much, in my head too much
I shut down too, I ain’t there too much
I’m a complex soul, they layered me up
Then broke me down, and morality’s dust, I lack in trust
(And I’m tripping and falling)
This time around, I trust myself
Please everybody else but myself
All else fails, I was myself
Outdone fear, outdone myself
This year, you better one yourself
(And I’m tripping and falling)
Masks on the babies, mask on an opp
Wear masks in the neighborhood stores you shop
But a mask won’t hide who you are inside
Look around, the reality’s carved in lies
Wipe my ego, dodge my pride
(And I’m tripping and falling)
Look myself in the mirror
Amityville, ain’t seen nothin’ scarier
I fought like a pitbull terrier
Blood I shed could fill up aquariums
Tell all my angels, “Carry ’em”
(And I’m tripping and falling)
Every emotion been deprived
Even my strong points couldn’t survive
If I didn’t learn to love myself, forgive myself a hundred times, dawg

[Chorus: Kendrick Lamar]
I love when you count me out (Huh)
I love when you count me out
I love when you count me out
(Wah, woo, wah, woo, wah)
I love when you count me out
Fuck it up, fuck it up, fuck it up, fuck it up, fuckin’ it up
How you gon’ win my trust when the lies run deep? (Wah, woo, wah)
How you gon’ bend your love when the bad don’t sleep? (Sheesh)
Beep, beep, crash our feelings in the middle of the street (Vroom, vroom)

[Post-Chorus: Kendrick Lamar]
Fuck it up, fuck it up, fuck it up, fuck it up, fuckin’ it up (Huh, huh)

[Bridge: Kendrick Lamar]
When you was at your lowest, tell me where the hoes was at?
When you was at your lowest, tell me where the bros was at?
Three-thirty in the mornin’, scroll through the call log (Huh, huh, huh, huh)
Ain’t nobody but the mirror lookin’ for the fall off (Brrrt)

[Chorus: Kendrick Lamar & Sam Dew]
I love when you count me out
I love when you count me out
I love when you count me out
I love when you count me out
(Wah, woo, wah, woo, wah)
My name is in your mouth, shoo, shoo
It’s gon’ take more than pride to stop me
Call 9-1-1, I caught a body
Sun up now, and yesterday is fadin’
Healing’s only ’bout a mile away
Let me tell you ’bout the woman I know (That’s my baby)
I know karma like to follow us strong (Sheesh)
I know millionaires that feel alone (Sheesh)
Anytime I couldn’t find God, I still could find myself through a song
Many find they life in a phone

[Post-Chorus: Kendrick Lamar]
Fuck it up, fuck it up, fuck it up, fuck it up, fuckin’ it up

[Verse 2: Kendrick Lamar]
You said I’d feel better if I just worked hard without liftin’ my head up
That left me fed up
You made me worry
I wanted my best version, but you ignored me
Then changed the story, then changed the story
Good energy in the room, drop the location, please
Antibiotic for the womb when I’m frustrated, please
(Antibiotic for the womb when I’m frustrated)
Tryna keep my good conscience in rotation
Thoughts in my head, they livin’ there with no— (Tryna keep my good)
I made a decision, never give you my feelings
Fuck with you from, fuck with you from a distance
Some put it on the Devil when they fall short
I put it on my ego, lord of all lords
Sometimes I fall for her, dawg

[Chorus: Kendrick Lamar & DJ Dahi]
I love when you count me out
I love when you count me out (Sheesh)
I love when you count me out (Sheesh)
I love when you count me out (Wah, woo, wah, woo, wah)
My name is in your mouth

[Post-Chorus: Kendrick Lamar]
Fuck it up, fuck it up, fuck it up, fuck it up, fuckin’ it up (True, true)

[Outro: Kendrick Lamar]
Miss Regrets, I believe that you done me wrong (Miss Regrets)
Miss Regrets, can you please exit out my home? (Miss Regrets)
Miss Regret, I think I’m better off alone (Miss Regrets)
(Miss Regret) Miss Regret, I got these deep regrets
(And I’m tripping and falling)
Some things I can’t forget
Lord knows, I tried my best
You said it’s not my best
I came up out my flesh
Something’s up, must confess (Ah, ya)
(And I’m tripping and falling)
Spoke my truth, paid my debt (Ah, ya)
Can’t you see I’m a wreck? (Ah, ya)
Let me loose, I digress (Ah, ya)
This is me, and I’m blessed (Ah, ya)
This is me, and I’m blessed (Ah, ya)
This is me, and I’m blessed (Ah, ya)
This is me, and I’m blessed (Ah, ya)
Anybody fightin’ through the stress? (Ah, ya)
Anybody fightin’ through the—?

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,288: ‘Count Me Out’ – Kendrick Lamar

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Your excellent review makes a compelling case to listen to this album; however, I must confess that, much like Kanye West and a number of other critically acclaimed rap artists, I just don’t personally like the genre enough to desire repeat listening.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Confidently complex… love this phrase and your cogent analysis of what this song reveals. Thank you for sharing your insights into these fascinating works. Really enjoying you, guest blogger!

  3. Peg says:

    Excellent review! I don’t listen to this genre but I am certainly enjoying your wonderful analysis and insights!

  4. Amy says:

    Like Andrea, I’m a big fan of both your cogent analysis and your use of alliteration. Unlike Dana, I’ve been wanting and meaning to devote some time to listening to Lamar ever since his “To Pimp a Butterfly” album received such wide acclaim. When he received the Pulitzer a few years later, I was even more intrigued. Still, I’ve never made it a point to take the time and give his albums a thorough listen. One resolution I can make and follow for the new year is to finally rectify that.

  5. Maddie says:

    Echoing the other commenters in praising your analysis and successfully making me want to do a further deep dive into all Kendrick has to offer. I’ve been a more casual fan of his work for some time now and have always loved his rapping style and phrasing. “King Kunta” is my most played Kendrick song by a mile – but I owe him some repeat full album listen throughs.

    I remember those limited cruise wifi minutes and how important your full immersion in this album was. I completely see why. I’m glad that isolated listening in the dark and many months of contemplation allowed you to develop such a great review!

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