Afrofuturism in Music: King Kunta by Kendrick Lamar

Afrofuturism can be shown in many ways such as fashion, art, architecture, and even music. To me afrofuturism is bringing in a little of the past, putting a spin to it by bringing current trends/events. In black culture especially you can see this.

Many black artist usually pay tribute to the obstacles we have overcome and still face in today’s society. I notice this in music made by black artist. One song to me that has afrofuturistic elements is Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta.” In this song Kendrick talks about Kunta Kinte, a slave who was known for constantly running away to the point where his slave master cut off his feet to prevent him from running.
Kendrick turns the negative light shed on Kunta Kinte to positive one but referring to himself as “King Kunta” putting Kunta Kinte in a positive light. The chorus of his song consist of, “Bitch where you when I was walkin’? Now I run the game got the whole world talkin’, King Kunta Everybody wanna cut the legs off him, Kunta Black man taking no losses.” In this quote he is referring to himself as Kunta because now since he is a household name everyone is trying to bring him down and stop him which is where the “Everybody wanna cut the legs of him..” part comes along. Kendrick uses elements of the past but puts a spin on it by relating it to the current events happening now in present day. In his song he says, “When you got the yams (what’s the yams?) The yams is the power that be you can smell it when I’m walking down the street.” Yams is usually known for being a food typically found in soul food. But the word yams is also a connotation for drugs. What I believe Kendrick is saying in this line is how in black communities are run by drugs, and how if you say drugs you have power within the community. Which is the sad truth.

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