“Well, this is my explanation, straight from Ethiopia. N-E-G-U-S. Definition: royalty. King, royalty.”
Kendrick Lamar’s got the accurate translation of the Amharic word for emperor (the song’s the album version of “i”, by the way), and nowhere is this more evident than in Gondar, a former capital of Ethiopia under the emperors Fasilidas, his son Yohannes, grandson Iyasu, and further descendants who murdered each other for power. In the Royal Enclosure lies ruins of palaces once extravagant but now plundered or destroyed in war.