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Meaning of ‘Dedication’ by ‘Nipsey Hussle’ feat. Kendrick Lamar

Released: 2018Features: Kendrick Lamar”Dedication” by Nipsey Hussle is a powerful anthem expressing the longing for emancipation from racial inequality, the will for success, and the embodiment of dedication showcased by the artists. The song blends both Nipsey’s and Kendrick’s life experiences to bring forth a narrative that resonates with the black community’s struggle and resilience.

Starting with the lines, “Look, my nigga this is dedication, this is anti-hesitation…,” Nipsey sets the stage by attributing his success to hard work and his refusal to be hesitant. He equates himself to the likes of 2Pac, stating that he’s the torchbearer of his generation, fighting against the same systemic oppression. He mentions being a “Blue pill in the fuckin’ Matrix,” asserting his awareness of societal trappings, with the blue pill symbolizing acceptance of a distorted reality in the movie The Matrix.

Fast forward to Kendrick’s verse, “I spent my whole life thinkin’ out the box…,” Lamar gives us a peek inside his life, hinting at moments of poverty, violence, struggle, and a strong will to overcome. He hints at the cyclical setbacks that black people face, insisting that these setbacks are not barriers but springboards for a greater comeback. His sentiment that it’s “bigger than deuces and fours,” meaning it’s bigger than gang activity, underscores that their struggle extends beyond localized gang culture and into structural racism and societal bias.

The line, “These songs just the spirituals I swam against them waves wit…”, Kendrick connects his music’s influence to the negro spiritual songs that slaves sang. The symbolism of swimming against waves highlights his struggle against the odds to find success. His advice of ‘staying dangerous’ manifests as a colloquial call to vigilance and determined resilience against structural inequality.

Nipsey’s return with, “Couple mil, tour the world, now my life crackin’…”, testifies his success achieved through relentless dedication and hard work. He proudly acknowledges owning his masters, an important aspect in music where many artists lose out on their royalties to labels. Nipsey emphasizes his autonomy and control over his creative outputs.

Ultimately, both Nipsey Hussle and Kendrick Lamar offer “Dedication” as a testament to their perseverance and relentless hard work. They acknowledge the harsh reality black communities face while also celebrating their achievements, personifying the idea of turning adversity into triumph. The song is a powerful reminder to stay dedicated and patient because, in their words, “The sum of all my sacrifice, I’m done waitin’.”

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