In the song “Money Trees” from his 3rd studio album good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar proposes that getting rich brings comfort and saves you from the everyday difficulties people face. But at the same time, having a lot of money is accompanied by evil. Lamar tells a story about how people will do anything to obtain money, even if it means killing someone.
“Everybody gon’ respect the shooter/ but the one in front of the gun lives forever/ the one in front of the gun forever”
Although the shooter got temporary attention from committing the murder, its the victim who is remembered and honored forever. Throughout the song, Lamar portrays how desperate people, especially those who grow up in poverty stricken neighborhoods strive to get rich quickly.
“Money trees is the perfect place for shade/ and that’s just how I feel”
In this predicament, people often lose their minds, morals, and stray from there passion.You have two options: pursue money or pursue meaning. Both can get you rich if you hustle hard enough. However, the pursuit of purely money is just a temporary place for security. This also implies that money and wealth is extremely susceptible to evil.
“A dollar might just make that lane switch, that’s just how I feel/ A dollar might turn into a million and now we all rich, that’s just how I feel”
The song also identifies prevalence of gang violence, drugs, and theft in poor stricken neighborhoods.