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Single by Kendrick Lamar
from the album Section.80
Released April 12, 2011
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010
Genre Hip hop, conscious hip hop
Length 4:41
Label Top Dawg Entertainment
Writer(s) Kendrick Lamar, Herbert Stevens, Jermaine Cole
Producer(s) J. Cole
Kendrick Lamar singles chronology
"Hood Gone Love It"

"HiiiPoWeR" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Kendrick Lamar, released April 12, 2011 as the lead single from his independent digital album Section.80 (2011). The conscious hip hop song was released as the first promotional single for the album. While the album itself garnered positive reviews (achieving a Metacritic score of 80,[1] and an XL rating from XXL Magazine[2]), "HiiiPoWeR" also drew acclaim for its lyricism and depth. HipHopDX gave it the Verse of the Year award[3] and XXL Magazine called it “one of the finest tracks of the year”.[4] The song, produced by fellow American rapper J. Cole, contains samples from Pharoahe Monch’s "Simon Says", Kanye West’s "So Appalled", and Sixtoo’s "Duration Project Part 9".[5] Kendrick Lamar mentions that when he and J. Cole created "HiiiPoWeR", which was their first collaboration, he sat in for about twenty-five mixes of the song. Speaking on J. Cole’s work on the song, Lamar says, "His production is crazy, man. The first time we locked in, he played about 10 beats. I wanted all of ‘em." [6] The song features vocals from late singer-songwriter Alori Joh.


Lamar performing at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, 2012.

Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy cohort Ab-Soul describe "HiiiPoWeR" as a movement, saying that they treat it as if it were a religion.[7] In an interview, Lamar claims that although it started in L.A., "HiiiPoWeR" is now “spreading like wildfire.” He continues to explain that the three ‘i’s in the word "HiiiPoWeR" stand for heart, honor and respect—the three main things that people should have and live by.[8] In "Ab-Souls Outro", the penultimate track on Section.80, Ab-Soul explains that the purpose of the HiiiPoWeR movement is to help lift a generation in a society that they view as destructive.[9] In a song titled "Cut You Off", Lamar explains that this goal can be achieved by raising one’s expectations and promoting richness of mind.[10] Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul all support and are involved in the movement and often shout "HiiiPoWeR" on their own respective songs, such as on Schoolboy Q’s "There He Go"[11] and Ab-Soul’s "Black Lip Bastard Remix".[12]

Lamar often connects the HiiiPoWeR movement back to Tupac Shakur, one of his biggest influences. He claims to have had a dream or hallucination in which Shakur came to him one night and said, "Keep doing what you’re doing, don’t let my music die." Lamar cites this experience as what inspired him to write the song partly to continue the messages that Shakur tried to carry.[13] The opening of the music video for "HiiiPoWeR" contains a typed paragraph mentioning this encounter. Additionally, towards the end of the song Kendrick Lamar shouts “Thug Life”, which is both the name of the hip hop group that Shakur led, and the title of the aforementioned group’s debut album, but more importantly it was Shakur's own respective movement.[14]


The song was created to further explain the HiiiPoWeR movement. While carrying a strong racial theme, the lyrics contain a mix of conspiracy theories about the government’s involvement in famous murders, criticism of society, and encouragement to build the future.[15]

Kendrick Lamar makes multiple references to high-profile black activists of the 20th century, including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, and Fred Hampton. He claims that many of these activists, specifically noting Black Panther leaders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, lived by the ideals of HiiiPoWeR. His lyrics also connect to the militancy of the Black Panthers by referencing cop-killing (“I got my finger on the mothafuckin’ pistol/ Aiming it at a pig, Charlotte’s web is gonna miss you”). Using Kurt Cobain's suicide as an example, he repeatedly states in the lyrics of the song that society pushes people to act in crazy or evil ways.[15]

Ab-Soul has stated that he highly influenced the song. He explains that although he didn’t write the lyrics or encourage Lamar to write "HiiiPoWeR", the content resulted from “years and years of me talking that shit that nobody wanna to hear, to him”.[16]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song consists of a series of short clips and images and is heavily themed around riots. It includes clips of Lamar rapping to the song, news clips of riots and rebellions all over the world, and images of notable figures from history and the media. The opening seconds of the music video contain a glimpse of Malcolm X holding up 3 fingers as he speaks.[17] Holding up 3 fingers is often used as a symbol for the song and HiiiPower movement (when performing the song live, Lamar sometimes has the audience put three fingers in the air).[18] An image in the second half of the music video shows a crowd of people holding up three fingers in the air. Also notable in the video is the common use of images of police brutality. At the two uses of the word “racist” in the song, the video first shows an image of Sean Hannity and then an image of Bill O’Reilly. The video ends with Kendrick Lamar dousing himself in gasoline, and is cut off as he drops a match on himself.[15] The music video also includes a picture of late hip hop legend 2Pac Autopsy picture and a picture of the car he was last seen in after he got shot.

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States April 12, 2011[19] Digital download Top Dawg Entertainment


  1. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/music/section80) Metacritic score 80, Retrieved 24 Sep 2012
  2. ^ http://www.xxlmag.com/reviews/2011/07/kendrick-lamar-section-80/ XXL Review of Section.80, Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  3. ^ http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/editorials/id.1818/title.the-2011-hiphopdx-year-end-awards 2011 HipHopDX Year End Awards, Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  4. ^ Kendrick Lamar, Section.80 | XXL
  5. ^ http://www.whosampled.com/Kendrick-Lamar/HiiiPoWeR/ Retrieved 9 June 2014
  6. ^ http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.15795/title.kendrick-lamar-speaks-on-the-meaning-behind-hiiipower-working-with-j-cole Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  7. ^ Video on YouTube Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  8. ^ Kendrick Lamar Speaks On The Meaning Behind "HiiiPoWeR," Working With J. Cole | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales | HipHop DX
  9. ^ Video on YouTube Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  10. ^ Kendrick Lamar - Cut You Off (To Grow Closer) (Overly Dedicated) on YouTube
  11. ^ ScHoolboy Q - THere He Go on YouTube
  12. ^ Video on YouTube Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  13. ^ http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.15954/title.kendrick-lamar-recalls-having-a-vision-of-tupac-shakur-in-his-sleep Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  14. ^ Video on YouTube Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  15. ^ a b c Kendrick Lamar 'HiiiPOWER' OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO on YouTube
  16. ^ http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.18998/title.ab-soul-speaks-on-how-he-inspired-hiiipower-explains-black-lip-bastard-nickname Retrieved 24 Sept 2012
  17. ^ Ab-Soul Speaks On How He Inspired "HiiiPoWeR," Explains Black Lip Bastard Nickname | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales | HipHop DX
  18. ^ Video on YouTube Retrieved 25 Sept 2012
  19. ^ "HiiiPoWer – Single by Kendrick Lamar". iTunes Store. Apple. Retrieved September 25, 2012.