This brand new single “Pray For Me” has a very dark and ominous appeal to it and who better than the Starboy to perform such a song! Kendrick Lamar tags along on the song to perform one rap verse, which speaks about justice, loyalty and heart. Both artists take on the perspective of the solitary hero in this song.
“Pray For Me” appears in the upcoming movie soundtrack for Black Panther-the story of a secret-identity hero from the African nation of Wakanda. In the upcoming movie the role of Black Panther will be played by Chadwick Boseman and the movie is set to release on February 16 in the USA.
Listen to “Pray For Me” by The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar
Let us take a look at the two verses from the song.
The Weeknd performs the first verse of “Pray For Me.”
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa (Black Panther) returns home to Wakanda to serve as the new leader after T’Chaka’s (T’Challa’s father) death. T’Challa in Civil War finds out that Bucky (Winter Soldier) is the root cause of his father’s death which starts the Civil War with T’Challa being on Iron Man’s side. – Genius.com
Above is a background to the movie as well as the song, when The Weeknd says he is ready for war again. Black Panther is returning home from the Civil War only to find that he has to face a new threat at home. He is not backing down from this war as well.
Black Panther obviously likes being ‘Black Panther’ more than a king. As a king, he has all the protection in the world. But as Black Panther, he is as good as a crook on the streets. There will be nobody to save him but himself.
The chorus goes on about the life of a secretive hero-masked and shadowed from the world. As Black Panther, he would have to hurt and kill people. Granted his victims are bad guys, but who is going to pray for his soul? Who is going to help him if he steps one foot out of way? He is all alone.
“Pray For Me” isn’t about braggadocio of the character of Black Panther. It is about the unseen side of a masked super hero. There is nobody by his side with the mask/cape on.
Kendrick Lamar starts about being a hero with a mask on.
I fight the world, I fight you, I fight myself
As Black Panther, he fights with crooks. He is fighting the entire world, he is fighting from himself and his nation. It’s a constant struggle. Kendrick Lamar could be highlighting the disposition of the African Americans in the world as well. They are still fighting for equal rights and treatment from the world.
Black Panther is fighting against the will of the God. He is facing death everyday and defying it, and there is a limit he can endure as well. Sometimes he will break down-with the blood, swear and tears on his hands. But giving up is not an option for him. He has the biggest burden on himself as the ruler of Wakanda.
Kendrick Lamar cleverly brings in African American injustice into “Pray For Me” lyrics, as the theme fits perfectly for the discussion.
Life a livin’ hell, puddles of blood in the streets
Shooters on top of the building, government aid ain’t relief
Earthquake, the body drop, the ground breaks
The poor run with smoke lungs and Scarface
King Kendrick talks about the crimes against African Americans happening on the streets in open in broad daylight. He says dropping a body (killing) of his people makes the earth shatter just like an earthquake.
‘Shooters on top of the building’ implies that social injustice starts from the highest positions of power. The top floor decision makers are the ones who pull the triggers on the streets.
Drugs has become a rooted evil in the poor communities. Also this could mean that there is so much gun violence on the streets, that it fills lungs with smoke from the weapons shooting.
It’s all prophecy and if I gotta be sacrificed for the greater good, then that’s what it gotta be
Kendrick Lamar has been talking/rapping about the African American injustice for so long. It would not be a surprise if he becomes the next target. But he says, his mission will not stop and he would continue his outcry even-though it could very well have sealed his fate by now.
It would not be wrong to say that Kendrick Lamar’s verses outshone The Weeknd’s on this track. He has a clever way with his words and he uses it for good, almost all the time.
We are concluding our breakdown of the lyrics to “Pray For Me” here and welcome you to write down your opinions of the song in the comments below.
Full Lyrics to “Pray For Me” from Black Panther OST