Case Study: Black Friday- Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar Shares New Song

In this track Kendrick Lamar teams up with friend and fellow rapper, J. Cole, to create this eery sounding track with fast paced vocals. This track uses all electronic produced instruments and sounds, excluding the vocals.


Once again Kendrick tackles this song with a very dry simple beat which leaves all the emphasis on the lyrical content, which in rap is exactly what is necessary. With a simple trap beat and eery guitar type synth his lyrics cut through the mix with his up-beat, straight fire style of rapping. The song overall has a very rich timbre, mainly because of the lyrical skills and full verses rapped.


Kendrick Lamar is known for writing about and speaking up about problems that tend to get stomped down. Black Friday is known to have a “prickly effect on the African American community”. With the whole track having that message as a type of underlying tone, he touches on various topics such as Donald Trump and Kanye West for presidency, his experiences with oppression growing up and talks about his own music and the influences it has and how he is seen as the “people’s champion”.

Target Audience/ Demographic

His target audience for this track would once again be his following and main stream rap listeners but as he uses one of J. Cole’s tracks it opens up a new audience, that being fans of J. Cole, with the way they marketed and released the songs adding to that.

Cultural Significance

As I mentioned before, the track is titled Black Friday, which was also the release date, and black friday being linked with his community as having a “Prickly effect”, he touches on the underlying theme as well. He also raps a lot about rap as a genre and the significance it has, using it as a tool to convey powerful and precise messages.

Para-musical Intent 

The song was written to convey an underlying message about the African American community reactions to the Black Friday sales, hence the title and release of the song being Black Friday. Not only this but Kendrick touches on several other topics.

Aesthetic Quality

The lead synth of the track has a very eery sound to it. It makes the track seem like something big is going to happen accompanied by powerful vocal skills, the track is very simple and repetitive but using automation and other effects throughout the song it continues to feel as if its building up to something.

In the track he raps “ain’t nothing more influential than rap music”, and to be influential the message they want to convey must be clear and heard. I feel like Kendrick’s tracks are all simple and stripped so that he’s not hiding behind anything and everything is heard.

Not only does the actual lyrical content convey a message but the way the vocals are recorded plays a huge part in that. Recording very clean, sharp vocals and using effects such as a louder reverb to push certain phrases and cutting the instrumental tracks when he raps certain words adds to that emphasis.

Throughout the song he uses voice samples and a thick reverb on parts of the vocals, almost sounding like a mob of people which reflects back on the craziness of the Black Friday sales.

Case Study: Black Friday- Kendrick Lamar

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