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Viewpoint: Who Needs a Hero? Pondering Kendrick’s ‘Pray for Me’

Everything Kendrick fans could have hope for.

Audrey Arellano

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Anytime a Kendrick Lamar songs is released, it is a damn good day. The latest treat Lamar has blessed our eardrums with is a collab called “Pray for Me” featuring none other than the starboy himself, The Weeknd. This is one of the 14 tracks from the Black Panther movie soundtrack and let me just tell you: it is everything Kendrick fans could have hope for.

Distorted synths open up the first four seconds of the song leading up to the drop of the beat and The Weeknd’s radiant vocals. The tone is set by the music and the lyrics clarify that this is undoubtedly suiting for the film. “I’m always ready for a war again, go down that road again, it’s all the same, I’m always ready to take a life again,you know I’ll ride again, it’s all the same (ooh, ooh, ooh), tell me who’s gon’ save me from myself when this life is all I know, tell me who’s gon’ save me from this hell, without you, I’m all alone.”

Just as you thought it could not get any better, it most definitely does. Right after that first verse, the whole song just takes off.Following the chorus, the music comes to a three-second pause and the Compton native annihilates his verse with an impeccable flow. No surprise there. Lamar’s lyrics never fall short of astounding but these are on a whole other level of songwriting brilliance.

“I fight the world, I fight you, I fight myself, I fight God, just tell me how many burdens left, I fight pain and hurricanes, today I wept, I’m tryna fight back tears, flood on my doorsteps, life a livin’ hell, puddles of blood in the streets, shooters on top of the building, government aiding relief, earthquake, the body drop, the ground breaks, the poor one with smoke lungs and Scarface, who need a hero? (hero) You need a hero, look in the mirror, there go your hero, who on the front lines at Ground Zero? (hero) My heart don’t skip a beat, even when hard times bumps the needle, mass destruction and mass corruption, their souls are sufferin’ men, clutchin’ on deaf ears again, rapture is comin’, it’s all prophecy and if I gotta be sacrificed for the greater good, then that’s what it gotta be.” Who else could say all of this and make it sound so dope? Your fav could never.

It’s the ultimate warrior song and Kendrick clearly communicates just how hard he is willing to go to survive.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Audrey is a Journalism and Creative Writing graduate from Southern California. Her passion for writing began when she was gifted her first journal on her eighth birthday. She has written for both her community college and university newspaper. Her first love is music. On her free time she likes to go crate digging at record shops, browse art galleries, travel, read, and go to the beach.

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