Kendrick Lamar says that “nigga” will remain in his vocabulary for now.
“I don’t know if I can stop,” Lamar says to NME. “The closest I can do to stopping is putting the root word, negus, on my album. But I don’t know if I’m there mentally to stop saying the n-word yet. I dunno, maybe one day. That’s 27 years of reversing that word. I probably been saying that since I was one year old.”
The Top Dawg Entertainment rapper addresses the word on “i” by tracing its roots back to Ethiopia where “negus” was used as a term for royalty.
“The history books overlooked the word and hide it / America tried to make it to a house divided / The homies don’t recognize we’ve been using it wrong / So Ima break it down to put my game in a song / N-E-G-U-S/ Say it with me or say it no more”
In a video segment of the interview, Lamar explains the creation of another track from To Pimp a Butterfly, “King Kunta.” He says that the message of the song is to stand up for what is right no matter what. He was inspired by “Get Nekkid” a song from the late Compton rapper Mausberg.
“One of my favorite artists coming up,” Lamar says. “At the same time I was taking it there, talking about this substance, but always staying in the root of where I’m from. That was the song or record that we sample that always lived in my community.”
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