Count Me Out as Poetry

While life is full of joyful experiences, there are also many moments of isolation. In his expository two-part concept album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar reflects on his self, insecurities, and psyche. He specifically references how he handles depression and pressure when it feels like the world is against him in his song Count Me Out. In reflecting on his own experience he centralizes his idea and turns criticism into motivation. His self-reflection provides listeners relief with the opportunity to relate their experiences to his own feelings of depression and isolation.

He is successful in utilizing multidimensional language to depict his struggling.

“I ain’t there too much, I’m a complex soul
They layered me up, then broke me down
And moralities dust, I lack in trust”

Kendrick Lamar

The word “layered” contributes multiple meanings to this phrase and song as a whole:

  1. Figurative imagery of feeling suffocated
  2. Reference to the media’s depiction of Kendrick Lamar
  3. Provides contrast to when he was “broke[n] down”

Additionally, He attributes his self-reliance to his ability to overcome his feelings of depression and isolation.

“I fought like a pit bull terrier, blood I shed could fill up aquariums
Tell my angels, “Carry ’em
Even my strong points couldn’t survive
If I didn’t learn to love myself, forgive myself a hundred times, dawg”

Kendrick Lamar

In using both a simile and a metaphor in the same line he is able to effectively demonstrate his ability to overcome his pain.

In comparing himself to a “pitbull” and the description of the figurative blood he shed being enough to fill up an aquarium it is evident that he had to endure pain in order to overcome his pain. It is also a unique way to express this as he represents his emotional turmoil by equating himself to a dominant animal and alluding to the physical amount of work he did.

He ends his song with the final lyric “Anybody fightin’ through the stress?” This rhetorical question ties together his song by relating it to the listeners. He is able to universalize his experiences to those of his audience.

One thought on “Count Me Out as Poetry

  1. Grayson A.

    I am very interested in your point on the figurative language and how it enhances the meaning. I think you did an amazing job explaining how that, alongside the multiple contrasting POV’s in the song, contribute to the meaning. Great song choice!

    Like

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