“Savior” by Kendrick Lamar, Baby Keem and Sam Dew
To date Kendrick Lamar is the only rapper in history to have won a Pulitzer Prize, and he is also recognized, as far as the mainstream goes, as being the most afrocentric amongst his peers. When you combine facts such as these, some people may go about perceiving him as a “savior”, i.e. a leader of Black people who can help guide them into a brighter day.
Generally speaking, as implied in the intro, African-Americans have the tendency to look up to certain entertainers, such as Kendrick Lamar or even a prominent basketball player like LeBron James, of having to serve the role of a holistic leader/role model.
But reading in between the lines, what Kendrick is saying is that some people are too deep into the Black cause. Or viewed from a different angle, they should not hate on others who do not live up to their ideology of what a true Black person should be. And likewise, they should not try to fashion a Blackman they look up to into someone who he is not, i.e. the next Martin Luther King or what have you.
Thesis Sentiment of “Savior”
But that said, Kendrick still prides himself on being an artist who doesn’t ‘bite his tongue’. The way he sees it is that other entertainers are more concerned with being “politically correct” than keeping it real. And even then, talking too much can make one into a hypocrite. So to get that point across K-Dot insinuates that, like Kyrie Irving, at one point in time he too was against COVID-19 vaccinations. But then once he actually caught the disease, his conviction in that regard was truly put to the test.
And such can ultimately be deemed the thesis sentiment behind this piece. Kendrick thinks highly of himself alright. But at the same time, he’s very much able to recognize and admit that he has some common, everyman faults. To him, someone like Tupac Shakur was more along the lines of a viable Black leader manifested as a rapper. But the hip-hop artists of today, including himself, ain’t on it like that.
And twice in this song, we come across K-Dot’s expressed preference to be in a state of silence. That points to the fact that he has been criticized before for not saying anything when pressing social issues concerning African-Americans were at the forefront. But what he’s saying in this track, once again, is that he ain’t on it like that. He doesn’t consider himself a ‘public speaker’, i.e. a politician or scholar, if you will, as much as he is a musician.
It’s cool that he dropped this song for the sake of clarity. Not only does being a celebrity naturally make people look up to you. But also implying, as Kendrick often does, that you’re akin to the voice of the oppressed also causes people to perceive you in a certain light.
But at the same time what he’s further implying is true, that anyone who actually listens to K-Dot’s lyrics can tell that in many ways he’s very much a mainstream rapper, albeit a more intellectual one. With this song, Kendrick is setting the record straight. In the grand scheme of things, he is saying people shouldn’t take their admiration of his skills and worldview too seriously, to the point where they actually perceive him as being a ‘savior’.
Facts about “Savior”
Baby Keem and Sam Dew, with the latter especially having an impact throughout the entirety of “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” album, serve as backup vocalists on this track, not leading any verses or passages themselves.
Sam Dew co-wrote “Savior” with Kendrick and the following:
- Mario Luciano
- River Tiber
Lamar, J.LBS, Luciano and Rascal also acted as producers of this track, though in that regard working alongside Sounwave and Cardo.
This song is from the aforementioned album, which the combined efforts of pgLang, Top Dawg Entertainment, Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment made public on 13th of May 2022.