Kendrick Lamar’s Influence on Rap and Pop Culture

Kendrick Lamar, an 11- time Grammy winner is one of the most influential artists of 2018. Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is a rapper and singer with 4 studio albums and has gained popularity and success since the  2012 release of his album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” which peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200.

In 2017, Lamar dropped his most successful and influential album yet: “DAMN.” “DAMN” has 14 songs that all charted on the Billboard 100s. In this album, Lamar raps about important issues and problems, and often seems to be telling a story. The album features major artists like Rihanna, U2, and James Blake. Many songs in this album discuss his struggles with who he is and what he went through as a kid growing up. This includes how people told him he wouldn’t make it, the racism he felt and still feels, his political views, and his success.

In songs like “XXX,” Lamar talks about white privilege in America and his views on Trump and what it means to be “American.” Towards the end of the song, Lamar says, “It’s nasty when you set us up then roll the dice, then bet us up you overnight the big rifles, then tell Fox to be scared of us.”  In the song, the “you” is meant to address white people who automatically assume that “us” (black people) are the root and cause of every problem. The song tackles aspects of racism, and police brutality.

In Lamar’s 2018 Grammy performance he plays “XXX,” finishing off the song by saying, “I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America,” as the background dancers all dropped to the floor, following the sound of gunshots. Many believe that this album was one of the most influential and brutally honest albums written in the rap industry and 2017. This album and his future albums will forever leave an impact and continue to spread important messages.

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