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February is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.
Today we will honor Kendrick Lamar’s “Keisha’s Song”.
Kendrick Lamar is a breakout artist from Compton, California. He is the first big artist to blow up out of Compton since The Game. Kendrick’s debut album “good kid, m.a.a.d city” sold 242,000 copies in its first week in 2012. He has definitely built a fan base with his style of conscious hip-hop. He combines new sounds with new ideas and also a fresh look at old issues. It has been successful so far.
Before his debut, the project that really put Kendrick on the map was “Section.80.” On this project he talked about plenty of situations within the inner city but one of the songs that stuck out to me was “Keisha’s Song.” This song is about a 17 year old girl in LA selling her body to men for money. All kinds of men and even cops are her clientele. The story of girls prostituting isn’t old but sometimes a fresh take is needed to remind people of real issues. “Remember the sergeant let her slide, he said if he could see what’s between her thighs, he’d compromise, no surprise” Not many rap songs today will touch an issue such as prostitution in this manner. It’s a reminder of Tupac’s “Brenda’s Got a Baby.”
Kendrick dropped this song in the summer of 2011 in the midst of party records, club jams, and weed songs. It’s a breath of fresh air and brought more light to an issue plaguing inner cities communities everywhere. Kendrick also touches on the fact that her mom’s boyfriend molested Keisha when she was younger and her mom never introduced her to the church for redemption. It’s interesting to see the family dynamic when it comes to a single mom trying to balance raising children, finding love, working, and surviving. It’s also interesting to see how it goes wrong. Although Keisha’s story seems outrageous and sad, it’s not as uncommon as some may think. Check out “Keisha’s Song.”