The English Department’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Committee hosted its annual interdisciplinary conference on May 2, 2019 at LaGuardia Community College (LaGCC). This year’s theme was “Body Politics.” The main co-organizers of this event, Dr. Meghan Fox and Dr. Anita Baksh, along with many more contributors helped in making this day a success. The […]
The “King of Compton” shows once again why he is the nation’s next best rapper. After winning two Grammies for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, 2015, he shocks the world with something few hip hop artists attempt to do.
Throughout his musical career, Kendrick Lamar, 27, has always aspired to become and remain one of the best lyricists of this generation, especially after he achieved the title of Lyricist of the Year in 2012. In the albums, Overly Dedicated, Section 8.0 to good kid, m.A.A.d city, Lamar shows fans both the internal and external conflicts he faced growing up on the streets of Compton, California. Lamar’s lyric content, peer pressured alcoholism, adolescent romances, and violent gang shoot-outs have often been the topic of choice for the hip hop artist; he takes it a step further with the single, “The Blacker The Berry” to his latest album To Pimp a Butterfly. This song expresses how contemporary racism has affected the black community as well as Lamar himself.
From the beginning to the end, Lamar profiles people of color and especially African Americans. “I’m African American, I’m African.” He is not afraid to express his identity or to express his viewpoints. Lamar directs his aggression towards those who have discriminated in any way, or shown signs of hate towards anyone because of the color of their skin. In the line, “You hate me don’t you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture,” Lamar attempts to expose the destructive agenda that is caused by racial discrimination against Black people.
“You sabotage my community, makin’ a killin’.” Lamar points his aggression toward the media,
who has often portrayed people of color as violent, trigger-happy gangbangers, to be herded like cattle by white forces. An example of this is evident in the protests that took place in Ferguson, Missouri. Initially, a peaceful protest for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by Officer Darren Wilson, 28, became a restless rally when Ferguson police forces appeared with armed weapons and SWAT vehicles. They were prepared to terminate anyone who they deemed as a threat.
Towards the end of this song, Lamar uses his knowledge of history and adds historical content when he states, “So don’t matter how much I say I like to preach with the Panthers, Or tell Georgia State ‘Marcus Garvey got all the answers.’” He references the Black Panthers, a group organized by members of the African American community. The Panthers organized armed citizen patrols as a means of self defense, to monitor the behavior of police officers, and to challenge police brutality in communities of color. They also established revolutionary community-based and social programs designed to better the community. Marcus Garvey was a community and political activist who preached a Pan-African agenda in the early 20th century. He organized the Black community to accept a positive Black identity to build a strong Black community and economy, as a means of overcoming social inequalities in the Americas and the Caribbean.
Today, many rap and hip hop artists are recognized by the cars they drive, their access to money, and the number of women in their music videos. Kendrick Lamar stands amongst the few who embrace the true nature of the music genre: lyricism and self-expression. His latest album To Pimp a Butterfly illustrates the extent of his skills.