King Kunta

Song by Kendrick Lamar

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"King Kunta"
KingKunta-promo.jpg
Single by Kendrick Lamar
from the album To Pimp a Butterfly
ReleasedMarch 24, 2015 (2015-03-24)
Recorded2013–2014
Genre
Length3:54
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Kendrick Lamar singles chronology
"The Blacker the Berry"
(2015)
"King Kunta"
(2015)
"Bad Blood"
(2015)
Music video
"King Kunta" on YouTube

"King Kunta" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar, taken from his third album, To Pimp a Butterfly (2015). It was released as the album's third single on March 24, 2015. Lamar co-wrote the song with Thundercat and Redfoo, while Terrace Martin, Michael Kuhle, and Sounwave served as producers. The song features interpolations and references to lyrics written by Michael Jackson, James Brown, Fred Wesley, John Starks, Ahmad, and Johnny Burns, who are all credited as songwriters.

Writing and composition

"King Kunta" is a reference to the archetypal rebellious slave Kunta Kinte,[2] the basis of the main character from the Alex Haley novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The song also contains references to Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart and Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man. The song contains an interpolation of "Get Nekkid" (2000), written by Johnny Burns (a.k.a. Mausberg), performed by Mausberg, and produced by DJ Quik; resung lyrics from "Smooth Criminal" (1987), written and performed by Michael Jackson; elements of the 1974 James Brown song "The Payback", written by Brown, Fred Wesley, and John Starks; and a sample from the 1994 song "We Want the Funk", written and performed by Ahmad Lewis.[3] Background vocals are provided by Whitney Alford.

Critical reception

"King Kunta" was placed at number seven on Rolling Stone's "50 Best Songs of 2015" list, with the editors commenting, "The fiercest and most funkadelic track on To Pimp a Butterfly takes aim at everything from Lamar's haters to "the power that be." We already knew Kendrick was a great lyricist; turns out he's kind of a badass, too."[4] Additionally, Pitchfork ranked the song at number four on its "The 100 Best Tracks of 2015" list.[5] Village Voice named "King Kunta" the second-best single released in 2015 on their annual year-end critics' poll, Pazz & Jop.[6] It came in 2nd on the annual Triple J Hottest 100 for 2015.[7]

Music video

The song's music video was filmed in Compton, California. Lamar stated in an interview with New York City radio station Hot 97 that the majority of the people in the video are friends of his who still reside in Compton. The video was directed by Director X, who explained to Complex that the visual to "King Kunta" was originally inspired by "Still D.R.E.", a classic in the West Coast video canon. "King Kunta" also borrows ideas from 2Pac and Dr. Dre's "California Love" video. In the beginning of "California Love", 'Pac goes to the Compton Swap Meet to look for some clothes to wear to the party later that night.' In "King Kunta", Lamar gets on top of the Swap Meet and raps to an adoring crowd below. Wal-Mart has officially purchased the Swap Meet, so the video is both Lamar's shout-out to 'Pac & Dre and a "goodbye party" to the Compton institution.[8] The video premiered on Vevo and YouTube on April 1, 2015.[9]

Live performances

Lamar has performed "King Kunta" on the Damn tour.[10]

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[28] Platinum 70,000double-dagger
Belgium (BEA)[29] Gold 10,000double-dagger
Canada (Music Canada)[30] 4× Platinum 320,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[31] Gold 45,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References

  1. ^ Cook-Wilson, Winston (March 16, 2015). "Kendrick Lamar - "King Kunta"". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on May 26, 2016. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Kendrick Lamar's New Album: Everything We Know". Rolling Stone. March 10, 2015. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  3. ^ "Hear Kendrick Lamar's Funky New Album Track 'King Kunta'". Rolling Stone. March 14, 2015. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  4. ^ "50 Best Songs of 2015". Rolling Stone. December 3, 2015. Archived from the original on December 5, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "The 100 Best Tracks of 2015". Pitchfork Media. December 14, 2015. Archived from the original on December 16, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  6. ^ "Pazz & Jop Statistics". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on July 29, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-30. Retrieved 2016-01-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2015-05-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Shares "King Kunta" Video". Pitchfork. April 1, 2015. Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  10. ^ Masley, Ed (July 13, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar launches DAMN. Tour in Glendale with triumphant one-man show of force". AZ Central. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  12. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta" (in Dutch). Ultratop Urban. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  13. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  14. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  15. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  16. ^ "Chart Track: Week 13, 2015". Irish Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  18. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  19. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta". Singles Top 100. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  21. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  22. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  23. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  24. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  25. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 2015". Ultratop. Archived from the original on February 24, 2020. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  26. ^ "Top de l'année Top Singles 2015" (in French). SNEP. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  27. ^ "ARIA Top 50 Urban Singles 2016". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  28. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2016 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  29. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 2016". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  30. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta". Music Canada. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  31. ^ "Danish single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  32. ^ "British single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  33. ^ "American single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - King Kunta