“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar
The chorus of Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” captures a high level of optimism and belief that things will eventually get better in the future regardless of the current struggles. As the intro suggests, everything currently looks messed up. For example, institutionalized racism and police brutality may be prevalent in modern day America, yet Kendrick is hopeful. He ells his listener that if they rely on God, everything will be fine.
In the subsequent verses, Kendrick talks about the music industry, police brutality and his own weaknesses which have been highlighted by his rise to fame and wealth. He admits how he is aware of the issues plaguing his life, suggesting that his sins are beyond redemption and karma will soon have its way on him.
Amidst references to the devil’s enticements and the state of depression he fell into as a result of the drastic change from poverty to fame, the writer addresses how he’ll keep writing until he is right with God.
Likening it to the issue of police brutality, the rapper encourages his listeners that despite the disproportion against blacks and the systemic mess, a better future is imminent, thus they need not despair.
Facts about “Alright”
“Alright” was released in June 2015 off the Kendrick’s critically acclaimed third album, titled “To Pimp a Butterfly”.
Mark Spears and Pharrell Williams are the writers of this song alongside the rapper. The two further produced this great piece with Williams also adding his voice to the chorus.
Soon after it was released, “Alright” became one of the most popular songs in the United States and was ranked among other top songs on the US Billboard Hot 100 weekly chart. It was also popular in other countries like the UK and Belgium where it performed well in a number of charts.
At the Grammy Awards in 2016, the song was selected for four awards including the “Song of the Year” and the “Best Rap Song”. It won the latter. It also won the “Best Rap Performance” category at that year’s Grammys.
Online music outlet, Pitchfork, ranked it as number one on their list of “Best song of the 2010s”. In 2015, the song was also honored with BET and Soul Train Music Awards.
The song has been used in a number of protests in the United States, and it’s largely seen as a song for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
A number of artists (including Fabolous) have released their versions of this work.
Was “Alright” released as a single?
Yes. It was the fourth single produced by “To Pimp a Butterfly”. Four other singles came out of this album, including “The Blacker the Berry“.