Kendrick Lamar, a widely regarded lyrical genius, has earned seventeen Grammy wins, known not just for his ‘flow’ but also for his penmanship and ability to express profound thoughts in an understandable manner.

In his track ‘How Much A Dollar Cost,’ inspired by a South Africa trip incident, Lamar presents a common scenario – a beggar approaching him, asking for a dollar. Despite his fame and success, Lamar declines the request and attempts to walk away.

However, something restrains him, and the beggar challenges him and his conscience with a simple question, “Have you ever opened up Exodus 14? A humble man is all that we ever need.” This reference to Moses and his modest beginnings as a leader sends Lamar into a contemplative state. Nevertheless, he persists in holding onto every nickel as his own. Nevertheless, the incident lingers, compelling him to come to terms with it and inspiring him to write the song.

The song encourages listeners to ponder the cost of this attitude compared to the value of love, generosity, and humility. The allusion to Moses adds a slightly different context, prompting consideration of how one would approach leadership if given the opportunity and platform. Would they clasp their pride tightly, following Lamar’s example, or embrace humility as a means to leave a lasting legacy?

‘How Much A Dollar Costs’ challenges fundamental human instincts concerning money, self-interest, pride, success, and self-centeredness. Kendrick Lamar eloquently puts these notions into words in a way that only he can, perhaps even encouraging his listeners to make different choices.


Written by Kea Andrews

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