February 2, 2018

Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd Struggle With Conflict on “Pray For Me”

Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd Struggle With Conflict on “Pray For Me”
(Photo by Rich Fury/The Forum via Getty Images)

Fresh off a successful night at the Grammy Awards Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd team up on the outro track, “Pray For Me,” from the upcoming Black Panther Soundtrack. This is the second collaboration from Kendrick and The Weeknd. The first occurred two years ago on “Sidewalks,” which peaked at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.


“Pray For Me” easily fits the Starboy mold. A gritty electronic riff and synths flow into a pulsating beat line making The Weeknd’s naturally soothing voice seamlessly brings sensual passion to the song. “I’m always ready for a war again,” The Weeknd sings. The previously released singles “All The Stars” and “Kings Dead” follow a similar narrative. The lyrics denounce oppression and give voice to the misrepresented. These songs follow a theme of suffering and isolation.


The Weeknd carries the hook, “Who gon’ pray for me? Take my pain from me? Save my soul for me? ‘Cause I’m alone, you see. If I’m gon’ die for you. If I’m gon’ kill for you. Then I’ll spill this blood for you.”


You want to save him, but Kendrick’s rapid cadence takes over the track while simultaneously bringing on the rapture. “I fight you, I fight the world, I fight myself,” Kendrick raps showing layered conflict. Traditionally used in literature, Kendrick expresses this conflict to highlight his ongoing struggles with reality. Lyrics such as, “I fight pain and hurricanes, today I wept,” “Shooters on top of the building, government aid ain’t relief,” and “You need a hero, look in the mirror, there go your hero” show how Kendrick is fighting against nature, society, and himself.


The Weeknd’s hook returns with an ethereal sound in his voice. The content of the song is very dark, however if you get lost in the beat it can become very sensual. There is a contradictory duality. The beat pulls you in and you can either follow the rhythm, or listen to Kendrick tell another story. “Pray For Me” will get superficial spins, but it could be the anthem for the oppressed.


The rest of the Black Panther Soundtrack releases a week from today 2/9