If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room, would you trust it?
If I told you that good came out of complete evil would you believe me? What are the chances?
Kendrick Lamar is the flower that bloomed (good kid) in the dark room (maad city).
It is almost impossible for a flower to bloom without light, though there are exceptions, leaving hope.
This has more meaning yet. Since Kendrick is primarily setting up a fantasised encounter between himself and Sherane, it could be heard as “If I told you there was one beautiful girl (Sherane) who bloomed in a hopeless place (Compton ghetto), would you believe me?” Expanding upon this, an overlooked interpretation of this enjamb is as a subtly sexual pick-up line, with Kendrick assuring Sherane that he will be able to call her into “bloom” physically in a darkened bedroom, and that all that is required of her is that she “trust” him. Not only sensitive, but positively gentlemanly! While it makes Drake’s later whining sound more superficial still, Kendrick’s showing an unheralded mastery of the multiple entendre here, weaving sociological comment and seduction into a single line with a highly attractive smoothness.
We’re not done yet. Seems like the line also has a deeper philosophical connotation. It hearkens to the proverb “if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it really make a sound?” There is also a kind of parallel with Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. There is a recursive logic following the song and the idea of “poetic justice” seems to be a meta-narrative about the disparity between conspiring or contriving love and what it actually feels like if it happens in the moment, kind of like the idea of a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. If you grew up in the hood, and you believe that growing up in the hood means you won’t amount to anything, then you won’t. If you don’t believe in love, or aren’t prepared to do what you must to get it (as Kendrick states more explicitly a little later), you ain’t gonna get it. This album is testament to the certainty of what is self-made in this world; things won’t happen unless you make them. Love, success, pure survival, it all has a common condition: effort.
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