Pray For Me
by Kendrick Lamar (featuring The Weeknd)

Album: Black Panther: The Album (2018)
Charted: 11 7

Songfacts®:

  • Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd teamed up for this futuristic song from the soundtrack album of the Marvel Studios superhero film Black Panther. Lamar produced the film's curated soundtrack, along with Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith.
  • "Pray For Me" marks the second collaboration between Lamar and The Weeknd, following "Sidewalks" from the Canadian R&B singer's 2016 album, Starboy.
  • The song opens with The Weeknd's silky singing asking who is "gonna save me" before slipping into the hook where he contemplates the superhero's burden:

    Who gon' pray for me?
    Take my pain for me?
    Save my soul for me?
    'Cause I'm alone, you see


    This leads into the second verse where Kendrick Lamar viciously echoes the theme of a despondent hero.


    Mass destruction and mass corruption.
    The souls are sufferin' men
    Clutchin' on deaf ears again, rapture is comin'
    It's all prophecy and if I gotta be sacrificed for the greater good
    Then that's what it gotta be


    Lamar's apocalyptic verse references his belief that we are nearing the last days as foretold by the biblical Book of Revelation. The last book of the Bible explains there will be a period of great tribulation before the Christian believers will be taken to heaven while non-believers await judgment. The Compton MC sees the hero's fate as inevitable in the light of these prophesies.
  • Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd wrote the song with:

    Frank Dukes who has also worked with Camila Cabello and Lorde.

    Doc McKinney who collaborated with The Weeknd on much of his early work as well as linking up with his Toronto associate Drake to co-write two Take Care tracks.
  • Directed by frequent Kendrick Lamar collaborator Dave Meyers and the little homies (a.k.a. K. Dot and TDE's Co-President Dave Free), the video opens with the Compton rapper in a boat surfing atop an ocean of raised arms. Other scenes include SZA performing in a circle of African tribesmen wearing bright blue feathery costumes, and Lamar walking through a desolate landscape of barren trees populated by black panthers.
  • The New York rock band Yeasayer sued Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Doc McKinney and Frank Dukes, claiming they sampled without permission a section from their 2007 track "Sunrise." The alleged uncleared sample is a choral performance that appears on their song.

    In their lawsuit, Yeasayer claim the defendants "extracted plaintiffs' choral performance from a recording of 'Sunrise,' slightly modified it, including, on information and belief, via postprocessing to alter its pitch, among other qualities, and then inserted the modified audio material into 'Pray For Me.'"

    The Weeknd denied the allegations, responding in court documents: "Each and every allegation contained in the complaint not specifically admitted herein is denied. The sound recording of 'Pray for Me' does not capture any actual sounds from the sound record, 'Sunrise.'"

    The case was dismissed on June 1, 2020 after Yeasayer stated their satisfaction that no copyright infringement ever occurred. Both sides agreed to cover their respective legal costs.

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