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Kendrick Lamar’s “Barbed Wire” and the Strength to Endure Life’s Obstacles

Her: so you made it through all the barbed wire? 

Kendrick: there’s one more left. 

“If it ain’t one thing, it’s another,” Mama, like a broken record, would repeat soon after life constantly hurled jabs.

It took me some time to realize, but once I understood, the rear-view mirror didn’t factor into the equation. There’s more to come, things are currently occurring, and my undivided attention is needed.

Life is going to happen. It’s inevitable. However, how you react to life when it flattens your tires, or, for another example, leave you low financially, how will you react? The reaction becomes imperative within the outcome of the situation. A negative reaction can create an entire new situation.

Ambition can be destroyed at the hands of turmoil, if you allow it. The grip is tight but can be loosened. Setbacks happen and patience yearns for attention in these moments. If ambitious enough, you and I can get through barbed wire and onto the next destination. Barbed wires can be the barricade between your dreams and reality. Dreams can continue in deferment, once again, if you allow it. I’m not saying the journey will be pretty, but I can tell you, the journey is worth the bouts—this too makes life beautiful.

When I think of barbed wire, restraint comes to mind. I think of force. I think of attempts of breaking free, but, the thought of bleeding through the force doesn’t hit my mind with pleasant landing. Since 2010, the fenced wire held new meaning — one different from its mid-to-late 1800s purpose — Kendrick Lamar redefined barbed wire.

“So even if you overcame doubt and your living ain’t bad, know there’s some barbed wire that’s always in your path. Just laugh.” — Kendrick Lamar “Barbed Wire”

By the time Kendrick’s “Barbed Wire” reached my headphones, I had graduated high school. I received the song much different back then — ignorant to what turmoil life had to offer me in the future — which is now. I looked at every situation like: “why does this keep happening to me?” Or the popular “I swear this only happens to me.” Boy, was I severely wrong. We all go through some sort of turmoil. By increasing my humility and becoming the observer (this is for another chapter, this is for another story), I was able to relinquish a tarnished mindset, respond better in the midst of chaos and gain a better sense of truth — about life.

In search of a greater purpose, struggling with mental health and still learning my foundation, I suffered, quite often. I thought that money would solve it all, but money can’t buy my sanity. I still have my bad days (currently) where it feels like the fire won’t stop spreading, but I hold faith in knowing I can get through. Even more, I know I can get through the next challenge of life that will occur.

Even take a look at Kendrick Lamar. Success doesn’t always present a smooth-sailing trip down glitz and glam roads. Kendrick’s vocalization about his depression and prophet-like responsibilities maintains survivor’s guilt and pressure ringing.

 I never received the truth, or at least I never thought about it in the sense of completing one level, just to be challenged with more difficulty. I assumed that after changing my car’s tires that I’d never have to change them again, check the air pressure, or do rotations ever again.

What I love most about Kendrick and Ash Riser’s “Barbed Wire” is the structure of the verses and the balance given through the hook, and on.

Verse one: the struggle.

Verse two: more struggle with no hope.

Verse three: the victory of making it through the barbed wire.

Verse three (cont’d): nope. “there’s one more left”

Verse three (cont’d): Nope, there’s another one after.

Following Kendrick stating that there’s “one more left,” I assumed another song would follow — one that takes us through the ups and downs of life. As I continued listening to K. Dot’s music, the barbed wires were placed all throughout his preceded music. Section.80Good kid m.A.A.d CityTo Pimp A ButterflyUntitled Unmastered and DAMN. all captured the barbed wires that will present themselves.

Who has the staying power and endurance to overcome the odds.

This current week has been a prime example of barbed wires and the endurance to keep going. Self-esteem, finance, mental health, death, change, fatigue—the list can breathe forever.

Circumstances and the barbed wire place in front of our paths do not make us who we are, it simply reveals to us who we are. I pray you adjust. Our reaction matters, deeply. Easier said than done, repetition is the father of learning. Keep going.

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