Ladies Love Lyrics — BJ the Chicago Kid ft. Kendrick Lamar “His Pain”

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Ladies Love Lyrics — BJ the Chicago Kid ft. Kendrick Lamar “His Pain”

I’ll admit it: I’m a Kendrick Lamar STAN.

I have to practice real restraint not to do an LLL post on each and every one of his songs, which are so lyrically dense, so thoughtful and so expertly delivered, that you could probably teach a class on them at Harvard.

See? There I go again with that Stan shit.

Still, all admiration aside, I couldn’t stop myself from writing a post about “His Pain”, one of several collabs between Kendrick Lamar and the soulful crooner, BJ The Chicago Kid. First appearing on advanced copies of Kendrick’s Section.80, and later finding a home on BJ’s Pineapple Now-Laters album, “His Pain” is a beautiful, introspective song about appreciating the good in a not-so-good world. Set over a mellow, jazz-influenced Sounwave production (Terrace Martin on the sax!), a hoarse-voiced Kendrick opens the track with some simple, yet powerful words…

His Pain– BJ the Chicago Kid ft. Kendrick Lamar (Kendrick’s verses)

 v1)

Yesterday, my nigga had told me his brother died
A day before that, his homeless uncle was cold outside
A week before, he seen the cancer in his mother’s eyes
Two weeks before that, couldn’t pay his rent
‘Cause he lost his job
A month before that, he lost the custody of his daughter
6 months before that, her mother said she won’t see her father
And this before he did a year when them charges was brought up
I shook my head, turned around
Then found a hundred dollars

I don’t know why He keep blessing me
I don’t know why He keep blessing me
I don’t know why He keep blessing me
I don’t know why He keep blessing me
I don’t know why, I don’t know why, I don’t know why…
2x

In the first verse, our protagonist is talking with a friend who seems to run into misfortune at every turn. His brother has just died, his mother is fighting cancer, he’s unemployed, he has lost custody of his child, and all of this comes right after returning home from a one year stint in prison. Our protagonist on the other hand, is lucky enough to find a hundred dollars out of the blue. He wonders why he is on the receiving end of such good fortune, while everyone around him is under so much strife. It’s funny how, when things are going very well, or very poorly, we often wonder “why me”?

v2)

Yesterday, I invaded privacy of a home
The day before that, my partner had fronted me a zone
A week before, I had loaded bullets inside that chrome
Two weeks before that, I shot them bullets and he was gone
A month before that, I cursed my mother then slammed the door
6 months before that, I hit my woman
She hit the floor
I stormed out, then seen a black Honda Accord
Them hollow tips missed me, then hit that little boy
I don’t know why He keep blessing me…

The tears start to well up in my eyes by this point. Our protagonist continues to question his good fortune, listing all the reasons why he is so undeserving. He has committed crimes, dabbled in drugs, alienated his loved ones, and yet and still, when he is targeted in a drive-by shooting, the bullets miss him and hit a child instead. The way this verse is laid out reminds me of the Catholic Sacrament of Confession. I picture our character in a dark confessional, laying out his sins and receiving absolution, yet questioning why he even deserves forgiveness. Rather than feel relief, he feels guilt, angst and confusion. He is still wondering “why me?”, or perhaps in the case of the shooting, “why not me?”. Why is he looked upon with such high favour while those around him suffer?

v3)

So today, I laid in my bed, stared at the ceiling
Closed my eyes, then asked myself how I was feeling
I analyzed on how a saint can play the villain
Is my life coincidental, or just God willing?
I came to grips, jumped up, looked out the window
See my nigga and that same little boy that didn’t know
Bullets is nameless, I guess this was meant for
Me to give them $100, then trash my pistol

Now I know why He keep blessing me
Now I know why He keep blessing me
Now I know why He keep blessing me
Now I know why He keep blessing me
Now I know why, now I know why, now I know why,

So I can bless YOU…

Our protagonist is laying in bed, searching for meaning in everything that has (or hasn’t) happened to him and to the people he knows. There are some really juicy lines in here that I interpret several different ways.

“I analyzed on how a saint can play the villain”

This line means so much to me. In verse two, our character paints himself as a cold-hearted, diabolical sinner. But, I personally don’t believe that there are any inherently bad people. I feel as though we are all “saints who sin”. There are people who do bad things, but there are no “bad” people.

Then again, some people and their “bad” behaviour just can’t be explained. If everyone is “good” at heart, then why do serial killers, psychopaths, and child molesters do the things that they do? It’s a hard question to answer. But…none of us humans know the Master Plan. Everything has to have balance, and as incomprehensible as it seems, perhaps even the worst of us sinners are really just playing our role in the grand scheme of things.

“Is my life coincidental, or just God willing?”

This too is a powerful line. Our protagonist wonders if his life was an accident, or if there is really a purpose to it all. I often wonder the same thing. As I mentioned before, when things are going really well, or really poorly, we tend to question “Why? Why me? Why this? Why now?”. Sometimes, we never get the answer. But sometimes, we are granted the gift of hindsight, and can reflect on our past experiences with new eyes, as our character does.

It’s hard to hear PRECISELY what Kendrick says in the last four bars, but here is what makes sense to me: our protagonist looks out his window, and sees his unfortunate friend from the day before, as well as the little boy who got shot in the drive-by six months ago. He realizes his part, and their part, in God’s plan:

It took seeing a little boy get shot to make our character realize the err of his own ways. He is compelled to get rid of his weapon and hopefully, abandon his criminal ways. This little boy’s ordeal has saved our protagonist from meeting a tragic end. The hundred dollars our character found wasn’t meant for him, but meant for him to pass on to someone else who could really use the money. His friend needed help, and God used our “lucky” character to deliver it. Our protagonist realized that God spared his life and blessed him with good fortune, so that he could in turn bless someone else.

It’s hard to tell what caused Kendrick’s hoarse, raspy delivery on this song. He may have been suffering from a cold or laryngitis, or maybe he was close to tears when he recorded this song. Either way, the cracks and breaks in his voice are a nice touch. In this last verse, he sounds elated to the point of being overwhelmed when he chants “now I know why He keeps blessing me”. Nothing feels better than reaching that moment of understanding! Looking over our past experiences with the gift of hindsight is a wonderful feeling, because we grow to understand the misery we went through, or the seemingly “undeserved” blessings that we received. We’re relieved to know that nothing was an accident. We were meant to go through whatever we went through to learn a lesson, to be a blessing to someone, or to build our strength.

Despite the sad title, and the tales of struggle and sorrow, “His Pain” is actually quite uplifting. It’s a humbling song that I think can bring comfort to people who are hurting. I have a tattoo on my wrist that says “Everyday, I am blessed”. I think that ultimately, that’s the theme of this song. Even in our darkest moment; in our deepest struggle, we are never alone. We are never forgotten. We are all part of a plan. And we are blessed!

 

–A. Harmony (Twitter: @AHarmonyMusic)

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