Tuesday, Kendrick Lamar released “i,” the first single from his highly-anticipated, to-be-released second album. Lamar's 2012 opus good Kid, m.A.A.D. city is without a doubt one of the best albums in recent memory, and I had crazy-high expectations for this new song. My expectations were no match: The Rahki-produced track blasted right on past 'em and skywrote "I JUST LEFT YOUR EXPECTATIONS IN THE DUST, YA BISH." The Twitterverse's reactions to the "That Lady" sample and the real-talk verses are split down the middle, but I am in the "I love this track" camp.
After a few listens, I dug into the lyrics. What I found: The feel-good song's verses cut deep. The theme that runs through “i”: The world can be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad shit sandwich. It's easy to feel powerless against the shit sandwich. Lamar repeats his secret to living in a shit sandwich of a world throughout the chorus:
And I love myself(The world is a ghetto with guns and picket signs) I love myself (But it can do what it want whenever it wants and I don’t mind) I love myself (He said I gotta get up, life is more than suicide) I love myself (One day at a time, sun gon' shine)
I immediately thought of the RuPaul's Drag Race sign-off: "If you aren't gonna love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?"
At the end of the third verse, K. Dot hits us with just how powerful self-love can be:
The sky can fall down, the wind can cry nowThe strong in me, I still smile
If you aren't gonna love yourself, how the hell are you gonna deal with the shit sandwich of a world we live in?