Today, I will analyze a very deep song that talks about being blessed. To be honest, the first time I heard it I didn’t fully understand everything that Schoolboy and Kendrick were trying to convey, but I eventually caught on.
Blessed is the first track on Schoolboy’s debut entitled “Habit and Contradictions” where he emphasizes on being blessed (obviously) but primarily how they both made something out of themselves especially coming from the rough city of Compton.
[Verse 1: ScHoolBoy Q]
What it’s like for a ni–a like me
Livin’ out his backpack every night needed a new place to sleep
But this is now, ni–a!Ones for the money, two for the bitc–s
Three to get ready cause I feel I finally did it
Four’s for the jealous rapper mad because he finished
Turn that motherfuc–r to a critic
Man, I got so much s–t up on my plate dawg
I was hangin’ on them corners late
Pockets wasn’t straight, bi–h
I ain’t gon’ make it at this rate, dawg
Know what I’m sayin’?
Nigga prayin’ up to God just hopin’ that he hear a ni–a
I know the world got more problems and it’s much bigger
But I figured, I’d get some –t up off my chest
To all my nig–s I would die for
Load my pistol up, go out and war for
To all my nig–s that’ll never make it out the streets
F–k it, keep goin’ hard, don’t let ’em see you weak
To all my ni–as first time steppin’ in the pen
Read a book and exercise, keep your spirit in
To all my ni–as that’s gon’ fuck around and die today
Take our hats off, bow our heads and let us pray
Just wanna say[Hook: ScHoolBoy Q]
Stay blessed my ni–a, blessed my ni–a
Really think about it, could be worse my ni–a
Don’t stress my ni–a, yes my ni–a
We all blessed my ni–a
[Verse 2: ScHoolBoy Q]
Now how the f–k I’m ‘posed to say this?
You see, my ni–a just lost his son while I’m here huggin’ on my daughter
I grip her harder
Kiss her on the head as I cry for a bit
Thinkin’ of some bulls–t to tell him, like
“It’ll be okay. You’ll be straight, it’ll be aight.”
Well, f–k that sh–t, whatever you need, yo, I got it!
Whether it’s money or some weed or puttin’ in work, f–k it, then I’m ridin’!
You know wassup, but now a ni–a couldn’t stick around
Told myself that after y’all moved that I’d be a fu–in’ fool
To be livin’ by the street rules
F–k police tattoos, that happens when you ditch school
But anyway, keep the faith, stay strong brah
Remain’ solid brah
Keep playin’ ball cause it’s the only way up out it, brah
A ni–a proud of ya’
Tell Floyd to enjoy his newborn seed, I’ll have whatever he needs
We the last of a dyin’ breed, live life, smoke trees
See how far we’ve come, but most, I’m sorry for your son
And you ain’t gotta shed no tear
I’ll be everywhere
And I’mma always be right here
I ain’t forgot those years
I’ll be everwhere
But I’mma always be right here
[Verse 3: Kendrick Lamar]
Livin’ in a premature place – wait
Never grow to see the pearly gates – break
Every time a bullet detonate – dates
Of obituary carry crates of a scary picture
With a family member that relate to ya
In December you was finna pin another case
On your record in a stolen Expedition, play it safe
As the record spinnin’ you was hearin’ angels entertain
Every pun intended, that was wicked, comin’ from your brain
Recognize you listened and you didn’t hit the block again
That’s because the minute after you had knew you would be slain
Open up another chapter in the book and read ‘gain
Story of a gun-clapper really tryna make a change
Everybody ain’t (blessed my ni–a)
Yes, my ni–a, you’re blessed
Take advantage, do your best, my ni–a
Don’t stress, you was granted everything inside this planet
Anything you imagine, you possess, my ni–a
You reject these ni–as, that neglect, your respect
For the progress of a baby step, my ni–a
Step, step my ni–a
One, two, skip, skip
Back, back, look both ways
Pull it off the hip
Blast at anybody say that you can’t flip
This crack into rap music every other zip is a track
Get used to it, get it off quick
Come back, give back to the city you’ve built
That’s that, don’t trip, see money, fuck nig–s, dawg
It ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of fuck ni–as dawg
In a minute everybody gon’ be winnin’
Put a little faith in it then recognize that we all
Interpretation and Personal Reflection:
Before I get into the interpretation I just wanted to state that the “n–word” can be described as a word that is “apart of the dictionary” in rap (You probably knew that either way, just wanted to clarify).
Q opens up his first verse reflecting on his past where he had to struggle everyday to survive; sleeping on couches, not knowing where his next meal would come from. While he is reflecting, he recognizes that he has come a long way from those days to become a successful rapper. Because of his struggle, Q made money the only feasible way that he could think of -by selling drugs. With his day-to-day struggle, he felt that God could come save him from the tribulations that he was facing. Q ends his verse by giving a tribute to everyone who has experienced the same struggle as him. People that are going into jail, people on the street selling drugs, and people who may die soon.
Q’s hook is very simple, meaningful and straightforward. At the end of the day we are all blessed and even if you are struggling just recognize that the situation you are in could be worse. Because of that, there is no need to stress.
Q opens the second verse by telling us by telling us that the harsh reality of life will face us sometimes. His friend’s daughter died and he has no idea what to tell him (due to the fact that he doesn’t know the pain of losing his daughter). Instead of trying to think of words to comfort him, he tells his friend he will always be at his side to support-no matter what. Q goes into more reflection, talking about how he ditched school and lived by the streets.
Kendrick opens up the third verse with words of encouragement and motivation. Kendrick says “Living in a premature place” -referencing his city, Compton where only a few make it out and are able to become successful. Then he makes a reference to the violence, the gunshots, the lives lost and the funerals that are arranged for all the people who have died. Because of the people who have died, the person he is talking about never goes into the street again because he knows the outcome that most of his peers have faced. Because of that, he opens a book begins to educate himself and tries to make a change. Now Kendrick gets really deep, he pleading saying that everyone has the opportunity to be great, to be something in life. Kendrick is saying to keep your circle tight by eliminating the people who are not trying to reach the same destination as you. Then Kendrick uses imagery to close. He references pulling out a gun and “shooting” anyone that is trying to bring you down or who does not believe in you. He finished the verse by saying once you are successful, come back to the city where you are and help all the brothers there that are struggling. At the end of the day we are all blessed.
This song was surprising coming from Schoolboy Q, who is more of a “turn-up” rapper compared to “conscious” rap. To hear his pain and struggle turn to advice was really eye-opening to me. In my opinion, this is one of Kendrick’s best verses if not the best verse. A lot of people may not know the reason behind the title of his 2nd album: Good Kid Mad City. This album reflected how Kendrick was a “good kid” not joining gangs or selling drugs. Ironically, the person he is referencing in his verse is himself. He “shot down” everyone saying that he would not make it out of Compton, he did come back to the city that he helped established, he did help the brothers out in the street who had no other direction to look all he did was have the faith.
At the end of the day, we are all blessed. Whether you have religious affiliation or not, just be thankful that you are alive, well and in school getting an education. There is a lot of people in the world that would die to have the same opportunity as you.
Listen to “Blessed” below