America’s Racial Refrain:

We Should Still Be Thinking About Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 Performance with the National Symphony Orchestra

Ben Familiant
Mar 16, 2017 · 7 min read

“Rap’s legitimacy has been consistently undermined by its ‘realness.’ ”

His unique relationship with white audiences that also puts Kendrick Lamar on the frontline of the battle for rap’s artistic legitimacy. He excludes an entire race from treating the experiences he raps about as their own. Instead of taking his words literally they should interpret them much more personally. Encouraging listeners not to take lyrics literally shouldn’t be revolutionary but in hip hop, it is. Rap’s legitimacy has been consistently undermined by its ‘realness’. Early hip hop artists cultivated ‘street cred’ in the same way they honed and collected rhymes. Jay-Z could rap when he was nine years old, but he didn’t want to rap until he had what he calls in his memoir Decoded: a “story to tell” or a struggle to rap about. The cultural mirror of that practice is a toxic form of literalism by those who are removed from hip hop and its sub cultures, as Jack Hamilton explains in Slate: “Black music has often been taken literally because doing so confirmed fears among the kind of people who wanted their fears confirmed.” Denying black rappers any granule of artistic validity went hand in hand with confirming racial biases of violence and drug use, among other things.

Ruckus

~helping you procrastinate since 2016~

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Ben Familiant

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man is this the new myspace it looks like shit

Ruckus

Ruckus

~helping you procrastinate since 2016~