Kendrick Lamar’s “Mortal Man” Lyrics Meaning

Kendrick Lamar’s “Mortal Man” begins with a reference to Nelson Mandela, symbolizing the rapper’s view of himself as another freedom fighter and leader. In the lines that follow, Kendrick asks a plethora of questions, targeted at his fans inquiring about their loyalty in the face of his prosecution.

In what appears to be a deep conversation between Kendrick and Tupac Shakur, the two discuss issues around racism, black culture, the music industry and fame. The questions reflect all the things the rapper would have loved to learn from Tupac if he was still alive, while the answers are sampled from a 1994 interview the late rapper had on P3 Soul with Mats Nileskar. Tupac answers all the questions except the last, signifying his sudden death and the questions he left unanswered.

Summary

“Mortal Man” is centered on the rapper’s questions to his fans, his role model, 2Pac and a very important idea. And this idea centers on Lamar believing that he is a voice just like past black leaders who will positively influence his generation through his music.

Facts about “Mortal Man”

“Mortal Man”, is the last track on Lamar’s iconic album entitled “To Pimp a Butterfly”. It should be stated that the album earned over 10 nominations at the Grammy Awards in 2016.

Lamar wrote “Mortal Man” with support from the following:

  • Fela Kuti
  • Thundercat
  • Sounwave

The latter went on to take care of the production duties of “Mortal Man”.

This song was subsequently released in March 2015.

It is believed that the rapper was inspired to record this song after visiting South Africa in 2014.

The video of the song ends with a dialogue session between the rapper and the late Tupac. Explaining that part of the video, Tom Whalley, who played a role in Shakur’s move to Interscope records, said Lamar’s respect and love for the rapper was the reason behind it.

The song also sampled Houston Person’s song titled “I No Get Eye for Back” which was written by the late Nigerian instrumentalist and singer, Fela Kuti.

In 2016, Terrace Martin released a cover of the song with the same title.

Did Kendrick release “Mortal Man” as a single?

No. His “To Pimp a Butterfly” album birthed 5 singles, including:

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