Kendrick Lamar, Emboldened, but Burdened, by Success: Rhetorical Analysis


Although most of today’s hip hop stars talk mostly about smoking weed or going to Magic City, one of Atlanta’s most famous strip clubs and a known hangout spot for a lot of artists out of the zone six, there are a few artists who have legitimate and rich content. One of these artists is Kendrick Lamar, one of the “most-ornery of modern rap stars,” according to Jon Caramanica of New York Times. In his article, Mr. Caramanica explains that Kendrick Lamar isn’t like other current stars and talks about more than cars and money, and rather raps about his story, politics, and other social injustices, or important things for that matter. There is no denying that Kendrick is one of the most influential modern artists of all time, and Caramanica’s article explains his few albums meanings and roots. Jon explains that Kendrick Lamar’s “2012 major label debut album, “good kid, m.A.A.d. city,… is about growing up in Compton, Calif.,” and exemplified the things he saw growing up and what he did to overcome those things.


Jon Caramanica’s New York Times article “Kendrick Lamar, Emboldened, but Burdened, by Success” goes into depth about Kendrick Lamar’s roots and lyrical content. He believes that Kendrick’s albums ask “questions as big as this one does, and that will be heard by so many, is a huge taunt to Mr. Lamar’s peers — it’s a dare to ride along, a dare to be different, a dare to be great.” I agree with Caramanica that Kendrick differs from other artists, in terms of his roots and “dare to be great.” I believe that this article was very affective in showing that there are still some authentic and raw hip hop artists in the industry. The author used Logos throughout by using photos and creating imagery in the reader’s mind. By providing visuals of Kendrick’s detailed and unique album covers, it provides addition support and a sense of background for the in-depth songs. He also incorporated Pathos while explaining Lamar’s lyrics, which tend to appeal to emotions. For example, Caramanica uses Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” album to show that it’s a “work about living under constant racialized surveillance and how that can lead to many types of internal monologues, some empowered, some self-loathing.”

Throughout his article, Jon maintains a solid structure and organization while having correct and formal grammar and punctuation. This natural flow and solid structure, along with his many other articles, account for great credibility. This allowed the readers to follow along easily and to understand the overall main idea and in depth explanations. All in all, Jon Caramanica’s article was a great read and learning tool in enhancing my knowledge and view on today’s top modern artists.

Works Cited

Barnes, Tom. “Here’s the Hidden Message Behind Kendrick Lamar’s Bold New Album Cover.” Mic. N.p., 25 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

Caramanica, Jon. “Kendrick Lamar, Emboldened, but Burdened, by Success.” New York Times. N.p., 17 Mar. 2015. Web.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.