Swimming Pools By Kendrick Lamar: Song Analysis

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In 2012, Kendrick Lamar released his single Swimming Pools (Drank). This hip-hop song became quite popular among the younger generation as a hit that the majority of the public interpreted as praising the consumption of alcohol at parties. The lyrics, “… pool full of liquor im’a dive in it” and, “… took a sip then another sip” do show that Mr. Lamar drinks alcohol. However, by analyzing the Lamar’s careful use of language throughout the song, a radically different meaning can be determined. Although this song seems to be about the consumption of alcohol, Lamar is really commenting on the pressures of his surroundings through the use of metaphor. These lyrics start off with the hook; an unknown person lists various simple actions with the…show more content…
He is so surrounded by influencing factors that he had to “open [his] mind up” to listen to his own conscience. He is trapped by these factors, both mentally in a “swimming pool” of persuasion as well as physically in his community. Could the impact of social influences be due in part to unalterable internal processes? An experimental study conducted by Damon Tomlin of Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute in 2013 evaluated participants on their performance in decision-making tasks when given the results of others doing the same task. They wanted to see if there was any difference in the success of the participants when given external information and if there was any link to the brain that caused this difference (Tomlin). The found that the, “…bilateral insula [was related to] … a misalignment of the individual’s performance with those of others in the group.” (Tomlin) and that it, “…participates in an important way in social information processing and decision making.” (Tomlin). This suggests that there are neurological processes that determine to what degree external influences will have on someone’s choices. So, the choice of whether to drink may not be due to the extent or the methods of persuasion used by people in…show more content…
This section contains a rapid change in topic to a seemingly random list of words associated with gun violence, such as “chopper,” “shots,” and “bang.” The placement of this string of words within the song illustrates the connection between the continual consumption of alcohol and violent behavior. According to Sampson’s study, violence can also be the product of factors in the community besides those associated with alcohol. The study found that areas of extreme economic depravation or are near high schools and shopping malls experience a high volume of criminal acts, while areas that are near recreational centers or have social control programs (such as neighborhood watch) in place experience a low volume of criminal acts (Sampson 452-3). Although being in a drunken state can negatively impact the actions you take, the location of your environment can also play a role in the prevalence of violence. This section also demonstrates societal influence through the use of commands like “hop out, do you, bang.” The chorus and hook are repeated, which can now be clarified further; the words “shot” and “headshot” have double meanings related to gun violence as well as to the consumption of

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