“Tell me who you loyal to” – Loyalty by Kendrick Lamar ft. Rihanna

[Kendrick Lamar]
Tell me who you loyal to
Is it money? Is it fame? Is it weed? Is it drink?

Is it comin’ down with the loud pipes in the rain?
Big chillin’, only for the power in your name

Tell me who you loyal to
Is it love for the streets when the lights get dark?
Is it unconditional when the ‘Rari don’t start?
Tell me when your loyalty is comin’ from the heart

Tell me who you loyal to
Do it start with your woman or your man?
Do it end with your family and friends?
Or you’re loyal to yourself in advance?
I said, tell me who you loyal to

[Kendrick Lamar & Rihanna]
Is it anybody that you would lie for?
Anybody you would slide for?
Anybody you would die for?

[Kendrick Lamar]
That’s what God for

Anybody who doesn’t know me (probably doesn’t help that my page is anonymous) should know that I am, and probably forever will be, a lover of the culture that has been formed by hip hop and rap. That does not mean I love everything that the culture has become, often I find myself in strong disagreement. But don’t get me wrong, I still will dance to just about any dope beat–forget the words.

I digress. To me, hip hop in its origin is not about drugs, violence, money, objectification of women–but that’s what sells and ultimately appeals to people who would otherwise have no connection to the true realities that continue feed the culture. People do not want to hear about and will not pay to hear about oppression, depression, poverty, or really anything sad. Everyone’s just trying to have a good time.

In this day of everything about hip hop I do not support at the forefront and referenced as the reasons people do not like hip hop, great artists still emerge: the Kendricks, the Coles, the Sabas, the Joey Bada$$es of the rap world. Who have not only have mastered the art of lyricism, but also address issues that are real to the culture and the world beyond.

In class last week we talked about loyalty, and how loyalty to the truth should come before loyalty to one’s self and one’s people. Kendrick and Rihanna want to know who you’re loyal to–so they know, and you can’t make a fool out of them. At the heart of an otherwise fire track, listeners are being asked to question they’re own loyalties. Do people even know who/what they’re loyal to? When loyalty is not intentionally reflected upon, it is not long before others may realize that they’re loyal to nothing but their own desires: to be rich, to be powerful, to live carefree.

Take the time to think about where your loyalty, explicit and implicit, lies. To push even further, decide if this is something you are willing to lie for, slide for, or die for. Because your loyalty will be tested one day, and my only hope is that you have the strength to move forward in the world when you choose to not lie, slide, or die for the sake of loyalty.

Consider taking an Implicit Association Test which explores implicit biases–which I believe can be seen as misplaced loyalty. I will not say I am a strong supporter of these tests or that I understand the research behind it, but at the very least it gets ya thinking.


One thought on ““Tell me who you loyal to” – Loyalty by Kendrick Lamar ft. Rihanna

  1. I’m still trying to determine who or what I’m loyal to. I actually can’t think of any “tribes” I consider myself loyal to beyond my immediate family (I don’t consider myself loyal to my extended family at all….) Hopefully by the end of the semester, by the time we need to submit that revised story of self, I will have figured this out.

    I also took one of those implicit association tests. I have taken one before for race, through a different site I think, and received a surprisingly neutral score (I had assumed that that would not be the case due to social constructs). This time, I took the gender and science association test and my result was “slight association for males & science and females & liberal arts.” Kind of disappointing. I would like to argue that if they had restructured the test I may have had a different outcome, but to be honest I think the test is unfortunately a little accurate. Environmental Engineering is definitely one of the more balanced branches of engineering in terms of gender distribution. I attribute my results to the way that science and engineering has been presented to me up until now. I mean, growing up I’m pretty sure the only female scientist I could name was Marie Curie and that speaks volumes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s