“Swimming Pools (Drank)” by Kendrick Lamar
Listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” opens one up to the reality of two major influencers in society, Alcoholism and Social Pressure.
In the first verse of the track, Kendrick recalls the early stages of his life where he grew up in a household characterized by casual drinkers and drunkards. He describes this by referring to his ‘grandfather’s golden flask’ and ‘backstroking’ which directly relate to the title of the song.
The title “Swimming Pools” is a metaphor for alcoholism and its related buoyancy as a result of being deeply absorbed in the liquid.
In the course of the song, Kendrick vividly addresses most of the physical and mental pressure that drives people to drink. He explains this in the lines below:
He then switches to himself revealing that his drive was based on social pressure and the desire to feel accepted by the crowd.
The chorus gets even clearer as it appears he has a change of mind when someone entices him to increase his dosage by starting with a ‘swimming pool’ full of liquor, while getting all the girls to dive in it.
In actual sense, Kendrick seems to be revealing his true thoughts about alcohol in metaphors. He points out a flawed mindset of his audience, subtly critiquing how people don’t drink casually anymore, but are bent on getting wasted at parties.
The next verse opens with an altered voice denoting Kendrick’s conscience which directly opposes his view in the first verse. Lines within the second verse such as “If I take another down, I’ma drown in some poison, abusin’ my limit” plainly argues with him on the impending effects if he continues to binge drink. His conscience is however ‘defeated’ shortly after as it appears he chose to dive deeper as the bridge reveals.
In the end, he regrets the experience as he realizes drinking is not that great. Furthermore, it causes an increased feeling of inadequacy. The skit ends showing the possible aftermath of drunkenness and clouded thinking, as one brother gets shot and killed.
In all, the focal message in this song by Kendrick Lamar is the misleading thrill and negative effects of binge drinking.