“N95” is the second track on Kendrick Lamar’s 2022 album ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.’ The track title is a reference to the N95 masks that were recommended to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. On the track, Kendrick Lamar explores more important topics in the ‘new world.’
Kendrick Lamar released his fifth studio album ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ on May 13, 2022. This is K Dot’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2017 project ‘DAMN.’ Fans were delivered with a double album for their patience of over five years. Announcing the new album, Kendrick Lamar provided some context into what is about to come; “Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family. While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next.”
In “N95,” Kendrick Lamar calls out for a massive strip-off, from fake jewelry to fake social media highlight reels to getting hooked up on Wi-fi and luxury brands. On top of this, Kendrick Lamar also claims that the whole world was lied to during the pandemic.
Listen to “N95” by Kendrick Lamar
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Kendrick Lamar “N95” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In the intro to the song, Kendrick Lamar welcomes all the listeners to a new world. The post-pandemic world has been called a new world or a new normal. However, looking at the topics addressed throughout the song, Kendrick might also be referring to a new world with significant changes that he envisions.
You’re back outside, but they still lied
This line refers to the world moving back to a new normal. During the pandemic, people were advised to stay indoors as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus. K Dot says we were lied to. There was a whirlwind of theories about how the virus and the pandemic were manufactured and cultivated around the world. To what end? By whom, exactly? Who lied to us? These questions might never be fully answered.
In the first verse of the song, Kendrick goes through an extensive list of things that he would like to see changes in. The list goes from clout chases, addiction to the Internet, debt, fake jewelry, fake show-offs, corrupt cops, fake woke people, designer clothes that give people a false sense of entitlement, and the narrative that broke people can relate to everything and the rich people don’t care (the last one is a little offbeat, though).
Take off the Chanel, take off the Dolce, take off the Birkin bag
Take all that designer bullsh*t off and what do you have?
In the second verse of the song, Kendrick Lamar talks about the social and economical changes the world underwent during the pandemic. The world went to a literal halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this halt lasted for over a year. Small businesses went under and millions of people were laid off.
However, these economic conditions did not impact everyone equally. The richest of the world grew their wealth during the pandemic while 99% of the world suffered. It is quite inconclusive if this income distribution disparity is actually the fault of the rich. It is likely the failure of the systems.
I’m done with the sensitive, taking it personal, done with the black and the white, the wrong and the right
Kendrick Lamar sounds as if he is getting tired of talking about the same thing for decades. His ancestors fought for the same changes that he is fighting for today. What does it take for these changes to become the norm and not the law? Social changes cannot/should not be imposed through legislation. They are barely effective. True change only comes within.
In the third and final verse of the song, Kendrick Lamar might be telling us why he is taking a step back.
Cameras moving whenever I’m moving, the family suing whatever I make
Being a multi-million selling artist has its own perks and quirks alike. Yes, you can touch a lot of people through your words, but you can also poke a few wrong people, too. In both instances, a few people act up. You get placed on watchlists.
Hypocrisy exists everywhere, sadly. Equality is a valid social change to fight for. But are you asking for an upper hand over another community? Is that really a request for justice? Equal opportunity should be the name of the game, not special perks.
Where the hypocrites at?
What community feel they the only ones relevant?
In closing remarks, Kendrick Lamar raises his voice that he is not one to fall for social media movements such as ‘cancel culture.’ This is where, usually, a popular figure gets ‘canceled’ online following mass reductions in their fan base and them being deemed irrelevant. Kendrick Lamar stirs up some controversial topics throughout the ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ album. There will be a hundred and one reasons for critics to cancel him for his lyrics. But one would get canceled as much as they let the world cancel them. Kendrick Lamar will have no tolerance for such.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.