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Kendrick Lamar Addresses Police Brutality On Jonathan Emile’s “Heaven Help Dem”

The verse is old, but the issue’s as pertinent as ever.

January 14, 2015

Kendrick Lamar's attempts to address the acts of police brutality that have gripped the nation as of late have varied in terms of effectiveness, but as Pitchfork points out, he sounds comfortable addressing the topic in rhyme on "Heaven Help Dem," a recently released protest song by Jamaican-Canadian rapper Jonathan Emile. The TDE rapper's guest verse was recorded in 2011, and it serves as a powerful reminder that this form of violence is a longstanding issue.

He pulls directly from his experience growing up in Compton:

He woke up brushed his teeth then jumped in the shower
Stared at the mirror after he dried his face with a towel
And said, 'This can be the day I might pass away
From a altercation my homie got into yesterday
Or mistaken identity him thinking I was his enemy
When I never seen him a day in my life'
This is life for a young black man
With his future and his burner in his hand.

Listen below.

Photo credit: Angelo Merendino/Getty

Kendrick Lamar Addresses Police Brutality On Jonathan Emile’s “Heaven Help Dem”