Kendrick Lamar Celebrates Compton Heroes On “Black Boy Fly” - Rolling Stone
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Kendrick Lamar Celebrates Compton Heroes On “Black Boy Fly”

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Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar Crash Concerts, Nicole Goddard

Now that Kendrick Lamar’s TDE/Aftermath/Interscope debut “good kid, m.A.A.d city” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 241,000 copies, he can add an autobiographical verse to his track “Black Boy Fly” that celebrates the successes of a couple boyz n the hood who were fortunate enough to make it out of Compton.

It is customary for rappers to praise their street kings on record, but Kendrick takes a different approach on “Black Boy Fly.” On the song produced by Rahki and Dawaun Parker, Kendrick details the plight of fellow Compton natives Orlando Magic shooting guard Aaron Afflalo and platinum rapper Game, admitting having been envious of their accomplishments.

In the song’s first verse, Kendrick raps about Afflalo with whom he attended Centennial High School. Kendrick describes Afflalo as the “one to follow” who “would live in the gym,” focus on math and ultimately “graduate with honors.” Kendrick, on the other hand, spent too much time ditching class and drinking Patron, describing his crew at “11th graders gone wrong.”

In the song’s second verse, Kendrick refers to Game by his birth name, Jayceon Taylor. He recalls the days of hearing Gameís music blasting out of a Buick that drove past his house as he mowed the lawn, people lining up in front of a retailer to buy Game’s music, and actually seeing the Dr. Dre protégé exiting a Harley Davidson truck when making a visit at the local mall.

Kendrick’s storytelling is poignant because of his ability to chronicle their come ups from afar. In the song’s final verse, Kendrick becomes more introspective, explaining why he was so bothered by their wins.

The last lines of the third verse put the entire song concept into perspective. Kendrick raps, “I wasn’t jealous ’cause of the talents they got, I was terrified theyíll be the last black boys to fly out of Compton.”

Fortunately, Kendrick’s fears did not prevail. This “good kid” from the “m.A.A.d city” is flying up the charts and his heroes are now paying him homage.

A week after “good kid”‘s release, Afflalo Tweeted, “‘good kid m.A.A.d city’ still spinning over here.” And days earlier, Game sparked a vicious Twitter beef with Shyne who called “good kid” trash. Game ordered Shyne to “lay off the homie.”

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