Album: DAMN. (2017)
Charted: 45 32

Songfacts®:

  • The song title "YAH." refers to Yahweh, which is believed to be the closest estimation to God's actual name. In Hebrew it was written YHWH, as originally there were no vowels in the language. Jews used Adonai (Lord) instead for fear of taking God's name in vain. The vowels AOA were inserted in YHWH in time, and so became YAHOWAH.
  • I'm an Israelite, don't call me black no more
    The word is only a color, it ain't facts no more


    The Bible teaches that the Hebrew Israelites are God's chosen people. Lamar's cousin Carl Duckworth, who is mentioned in the song, is a member of Israel United In Christ. They are a New York City-based Messianic Hebrew Israelite group, mainly comprising Black and Native American people, who believe their sufferings are because they are the descendants of Jacob and the lost tribes of Israel.

    A voicemail from Carl on the track "FEAR.," explains why Kendrick is embracing his Israelite heritage:

    Because he said he's gonna punish us, the so-called Blacks, Hispanics, and Native American Indians, are the true children of Israel. We are the Israelites according to the Bible. The children of Israel, he's gonna punish us for our iniquities.

    Lamar told Rolling Stone that he is rapping from Carl's perspective. "That's always been my thing," he said. "Always listen to people's history and their background. It may not be like mine, it may not be like yours. It was taking his perspective on the world and life as a people and putting it to where people can listen to it and make their own perspective from it, whether you agree or you don't agree. That's what I think music is for. It's a mouthpiece."
  • Fox News wanna use my name for percentage
    My latest muse is my niece, she worth livin'
    See me on the TV and scream: "That's Uncle Kendrick!"
    Yeah, that's the business
    Somebody tell Geraldo this nigga got some ambition.


    This is a reference to Geraldo Rivera complaining on Fox News about Lamar's 2015 BET Awards performance of "Alright". The right wing pundit declared that "hip hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years."

    The lyric is a continuation of Lamar's musings on the broadcast, which he previously sampled clips from on "BLOOD" and "DNA.." On "YAH." Lamar is noting that his young niece witnessed the critical broadcast. He is critical of Fox News for dehumanizing and making him out to be a villain when family members that admire and look up to him are watching.
  • DJ Dahi, a versatile producer who helped craft such tracks as Drake's " Worst Behavior" and Schoolboy Q's "Hell of a Night" put together the "Yah" beat along with:

    The head of Lamar's label Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith

    Bekon, formerly known as Danny Keyz, who has also produced songs and contributed vocals for Dr. Dre, Snoop, and Eminem

    Sounwave, an in-house producer for Top Dawg Entertainment.
  • Dahi recalled the story of the beat to Spin:

    "'YAH.' was from a session we did in New York. We literally just had a jam session and just started to go in and make a bunch of beats. I'd get on the mic and I'd start humming melodies and they'd be like, 'Oh, I like that part.' We kept that one part and after that Kendrick started to write.

    We were at the A$AP Yams concert and then we just all went to the studio that week and we just started making records. I remember that night we had all sat down and listened to albums. You know what I'm saying? Just listened to music. From there we just said, "Alright cool, we got this. Let's go in and let's just start having a jam session." We made like 20 records that night. We had like 20 ideas and that was the one that stuck. I had never really made music like that before."

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