The meaning of the lyrics for ‘N95’ by Kendrick Lamar is a reference to N95 face masks that people used during the pandemic. Here, the rapper is criticizing responses to the pandemic from general people to the people in power. Kendrick Lamar was noticed shooting a music video for ‘N95’, floating over the sand of the beach.
In the music video for ‘N95’, Kendrick Lamar precisely parallels Jesus Christ on the cross. He tells people to take off their materialistic items and take a close look at themselves.
Introduction: N95 Lyrics
The lyrics of ‘N95’ by Kendrick Lamar tell us to get outside the materialistic world and we would have nothing to show for it. It’s a very important message as people were showing off the brand of the masks even when they were on the verge of a disastrous pandemic. In simple words, the rapper is telling us to be humble.
Huh, huh, ughLyrics for ‘N95’ by Kendrick Lamar
You outta pocket, yeah, you outta pocket (This shit hard)
You entertain the mediocre, need to stop it (This shit hard)
You entertainin’ old friends when they toxic (This shit hard)
N95 Lyrics Meaning
Let’s analyze the meaning of the lyrics behind the song ‘N95’ by Kendrick Lamar line by line in detail.
‘N95’ by Kendrick Lamar is the second track on his fifth and final album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, with Top Dawg Entertainment. The release date of this song is the 13th of May, 2022.
The intro of the song highlights how we were lied to about the pandemic during the pandemic. Nobody knew what the right steps were. Both Trump and Biden administrations were inconsistent on whether masks, lockdowns, etc. were necessary or not. We are back outside but we were forced to stay inside our homes like prisoners and put on a mask even when it didn’t make sense.
In the first verse of ‘N95’, Kendrick Lamar tells us to get out of the materialistic world. He tells us to take off clout chase, the WI-FI, expensive phones, car loan, flexing, jewellery, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Birkin, etc. Then, he tells us to not have any idols cause no one is perfect. The rapper begins again to tell us to take off unloyalty, indecisiveness, fake deep, fake woke, always whining about lack of money, gossip, etc.
After telling us to get rid of unnecessary thoughts and items, Kendrick Lamar looks at us with disgust. He implies that we lack substance and meaning outside all the consumerism and materialism we practice. By referencing ‘N95’ as a mask, he is exposing how our desires for materialistic items are the real mask we walk with daily. Then, he asserts that they are ugly without any hesitation.
“The world is in a panic” is a reference to the recent pandemic we have been through. We know that the virus wasn’t the only problem, the markets were crashing all around the globe as well. “Sleep in a box” means people are losing jobs, are broke and all they can afford is a box. Then, we have billionaires making more billions than ever during the same timeframe.
The bridge section, as well as the first half of the third verse, were planned for Baby Keem’s song “vent” but Kendrick only ended up providing vocals on the chorus. In the Bridge section, he mentions ‘big steppers’, a key term from the name of his album. The meaning of “big steppers” is someone who stands out from everyone else and is unwilling to negotiate or compromise for their success.
[Verse 3: Kendrick Lamar & Baby Keem]
Kendrick Lamar begins the third verse of ‘N95’ by asking “Can I vent all my truth?” which implies that the bars were meant for Baby Keem’s ‘Vent’. The rapper references his 2012 track “Swimming Pools (Drank)“. The rappers talk about political and social issues in terms of increasing crime rate, taxation, family suing each other for their financial benefits.
Then, Kendrick Lamar sounds genuinely concerned. He thinks about a certain topic. How much materialism would make us look aesthetic? To what extent can we go to get a line of credit? Would we break our loyalty for leverage? Then, he calls out the hypocrites and pretenders who feel like they are the only relevant people in their community.
“You outta pocket” means that we have lost the touch with reality and this realisation is very hard to digest. So, we go further to lose touch with reality as a cope. We entertain mediocre people and mediocre items that probably don’t fit in our lives anymore. On top of that, we accept the mediocrity of our old friends even when they are toxic just because they are our old friends.
Then, Kendrick Lamar forces us to look deep into our own lives before judging someone else’s life. He asks what our lives are like while bashing the cancel culture. Are they full of gossip or are they something productive? Why are you cancelling other people while your crib is not clean and while you are no good of a person yourself?
Conclusion: N95 Meaning
The meaning of ‘N95’ by Kendrick Lamar is the mask we put on so we appear as though we are people with substance. However, the rapper shatters that illusion by ripping us off materialism. He shows us that we are a nobody outside of the materialistic value we provide. It means we are not living for ourselves but are living for someone else.
What do you think is the meaning behind the lyrics of the song ‘N95’ by Kendrick Lamar? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter @laviasco.
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