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i by Kendrick Lamar

i by Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp A Butterfly

Song Meaning and Background of i by Kendrick Lamar

The song samples parts of "That Lady," an R&B song written and performed by The Isley Brothers, which was rerecorded instead of being a straight sample from the original record.

Lamar went to see Ronald Isley, the lead vocalist for the Isley Brothers, in person to get his approval to sample the song.

The title of the song has a big meaning. According to reporter Nelson George, "'i' is a powerful word in the vocabulary of the African American male," in Hip Hop America.

At the 2015 Grammy Awards, "I" took home two prizes: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.

Lyrics of i by Kendrick Lamar

Is this mic on? (Hey, move this way, this way)

Hey, hey! Hey! Turn the mic up, c'mon, c'mon

Is the mic on or not? I want the mic

We're bringing up nobody, nobody

Nobody but the number one rapper in the world

He done traveled all over the world

He came back just to give you some game

All of the little boys and girls, come up here

{Ah, one two, one two, what's happening, fool?}

Come right here, this is for you, come on up

{I done been through a whole lot} (Kendrick Lamar!)

{Trial, tribulation, but I know God}

{The Devil wanna put me in a bow tie} (Make some noise, brother!)

Pray that the holy water don't go dry

As I look around me

So many motherfuckers wanna down me

But enemigo never drown me

In front of a dirty double-mirror they found me


And (I love myself)

Huh, when you lookin' at me, tell me what do you see?

(I love myself)

Ah, I put a bullet in the back of the back of the head of the police

(I love myself)

Uh, illuminated by the hand of God, boy, don't seem shy

(I love myself)

One day at a time, huh


They wanna say it's a war outside, bomb in the street

Gun in the hood, mob of police

Rock on the corner with a line for the fiend

And a bottle full of lean and a model on the scheme, uh

These days of frustration keep y'all on tuck and rotation (Come to the front, yeah)

I duck these cold faces, post up fi-fie-fo-fum basis

Dreams of reality's peace (Oh, yeah)

Blow steam in the face of the beast

Sky could fall down, wind could cry now

Look at me motherfucker I smile-


And (I love myself)

Uh, and when you lookin' at me, tell me what do you see?

(I love myself)

Ah, I put a bullet in the back of the back of the head of the police

(I love myself)


All ya'll come to the front, ya'll come up to the front

(I love myself)

Baby what about you? Come on


(Crazy, what you gon' do?)

Lift up your head and keep moving, (Keep moving) turn the mic up

(Haunt you)

Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart

On my sleeve, let the runway start

You know the miserable do love company

What do you want from me and my scars?

Everybody lack confidence, everybody lack confidence

How many times my potential was anonymous?

How many times the city making me promises?

So I promise this, nigga


(I love myself)

Uh, and when you lookin' at me, tell me what do you see?

(I love myself)

Ah, I put a bullet in the back of the back of the head of the police

(I love myself)

Huh, illuminated by the hand of God, boy don't seem shy

(I love myself)


Huh (Walk my bare feet) Huh (Walk my bare feet)

Huh (Down, down valley deep) Huh (Down, down valley deep)

(I love myself) Huh (Fi-fie-fo-fum) Huh (Fi-fie-fo-fum)

(I love myself) Huh (My heart undone) one, two, three


I went to war last night

With an automatic weapon, don't nobody call a medic

I'ma do it 'til I get it right (Oh no)

I went to war last night (Night, night, night, night)

I've been dealing with depression ever since an adolescent

Duckin' every other blessin', I can never see the message

I could never take the lead, I could never bob and weave

From a negative and letting them annihilate me

And it's evident I'm moving at a meteor speed

Finna run into a building, lay my body—


(Offstage Argument)

Not on my, not while I'm up here

Not on my time, kill the music, not on my time

We could save that shit for the streets

We could save that shit, this for the kids, bro

2015, niggas tired of playin' victim, dog

Niggas ain't trying to play vic— TuTu, how many niggas we done lost?

How many— Yan-Yan, how many we done lost?

No for real, answer the que—, how many niggas we done lost bro?

This—, this year alone

Exactly, so we— we ain't got time to waste time, my nigga

Niggas gotta make time, bro

The judge make time, you know that, the judge make time, right?

The judge make time so it ain't shit

It shouldn't be shit for us to come out here and appreciate the little bit of life we got left, dog

On the dead homies, Charlie P, you know that, bro

You know that

It's— it's mando, right, it's mando

And I s— I— And I— And I say this because I love you niggas, man

I love all my niggas, bro

Exac— enough said, enough said

And we gon' get back to the show and move on, because that shit petty, my nigga

Mic check, mic check, mic check, mic check, mic check

We gon' do some acappella shit before we get back to-

All my niggas listen, listen to this:


I promised Dave I'd never use the phrase "fuck nigga"

He said, "Think about what you saying." "Fuck niggas"

No better than Samuel on the Django

No better than a white man with slave boats"

Sound like I needed some soul searching

My Pops gave me some game in real person

Retraced my steps on what they never taught me

Did my homework fast before government caught me

So I'ma dedicate this one verse to Oprah

On how the infamous, sensitive N-word control us

So many artists gave her an explanation to hold us

Well, this is my explanation straight from Ethiopia

N-E-G-U-S definition: royalty; king royalty - wait listen

N-E-G-U-S description: black emperor, king, ruler, now let me finish

The history books overlook the word and hide it

America tried to make it to a house divided

The homies don't recognize we been using it wrong

So I'ma break it down and put my game in a song

N-E-G-U-S, say it with me, or say it no more

Black stars can come and get me

Take it from Oprah Winfrey, tell her she right on time

Kendrick Lamar, by far, realest Negus alive

Release Date



Kendrick Duckworth, Marvin Isley, O'Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley, Ernie Isley, Christopher Jasper, Columbus Smith




Top Dawg, Aftermath, Interscope

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