The Black Aesthetic: Lyrical Dominance in Kendrick Lamar’s Damn

Kendrick Lamar’s latest album Damn maintains his position as the most profound rap lyricist alive. With songs such as “DNA” Kendrick asserts his Black male dominance despite the media’s emphasis on Black male inferiority. When Kendrick says, “I got millions, I got riches buildin’ in my DNA,” he pushes back against their genocidal stereotypes of black demise. And, in “God,” he promotes the theme of his preeminence as a small “g” god in the rap industry, while emphasizing the loyalty of performing for the people, “Everything I do is to embrace y’all.” Kendrick’s Damn subverts the power of DNA as defining black life and the determinant of black fate, while asserting lyrical control as the cultural torchbearer of black pride in America...Continue reading

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