Kendrick Lamar’s songs give music listeners a little more to think about via his latest album. But, it’s not coincidence. K. Dot’s lyrics have grown over the years with his albums.
That goes without saying, right? Not necessarily. There are several artists whom haven’t stood the test of time or shown any progress over the years. While Lamar talks about his life and life’s choices through his music, you can hear the way he’s learned from his experiences and those of others.
If you remember, back in May, Kendrick Lamar was given the “Generational Icon” award by the 35th Senate district for his achievements in the music industry, but also for his influence in the community. According to Blunt IQ, Kendrick Lamar’s award was presented by California State Senator Isadore Hall III.
During Kendrick Lamar’s acceptance speech, he counted it an honor to be able to stand in front of the Senate in such an influential capacity. K. Dot quoted as follows.
“Being from the city of Compton — and the parks I played at, and the neighborhoods — I always thought of how great an opportunity it would be to be able to give back to my community off what I do in music. So, in order to do that from my city [and] all the way to a ‘state’ standpoint, and have these young kids look at me as some type of inspiration, it’s really an honor. And I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for honoring me today.”
The video didn’t portray the rapper as glorifying drugs, violence or ignorance. Rather, it was an accommodation which he matched with adequate achievement.
Although quite famous and musically-preferred by the masses, a keynote was that Kendrick’s music fame has not gone to his head. According to the senator’s introduction, Lamar is a familiar face around his city and has made several contributions to his home community, out of his own pocket.
In the Compton Unified School District alone, K. Dot has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund after-school, music and sports programs. Lamar has been holding himself accountable for his words, actions and influences over the youth.
In an interview with Peter Rosenburg, the rapper mentioned that he was appreciative of how this generation accepted his album. As reported by Hip Hop Wired, Lamar and his TDE camp knew it was going to be a challenge. However, he wanted to tackle serious issues and not just give what was expected. Kendrick Lamar even said they went through a strenuous screening process of the album. If the songs weren’t up-to-par, they were getting chopped.
While To Pimp a Butterfly wasn’t the usual brand of “Kendrick” delivery, its lyricism paved the way for a “shock and awe” campaign that would keep the essence of hip hop alive. It will likely be on the list for album of the year come awards season. At least, this is what Fusion noted earlier this year.
“To Pimp a Butterfly is a journey towards self-love and perspective shifts. It already deserves the Grammy award for ‘Rap Album of The Year’.”
Nu op Juize: Kendrick Lamar – I pic.twitter.com/3b0XctggAD
— NuOpJuize (@NuOpJuize) September 19, 2015
Even at the end of the album, the “i” rapper mentions that there’s no more time to waste on being petty and killing each other over nonsense. Mic also mentions how K. Dot’s lyrics have taken on a new responsibility.
“Kendrick Lamar has pledged his dedication to trying to bring this positivity to his listeners. Though his own assessment about hip-hop’s responsibility for the systemic problems facing the black community is off, his willingness to take his music’s impact seriously is exactly what we all need.”
So, what do you think about Kendrick Lamar’s take on musical responsibility? It’s like K. Dot’s mentor, Tupac, said in 1995, during an interview with Vibe.
“…there’s something else I understand now: If we really are saying rap is an art form, then we got to be true to it and be more responsible for our lyrics. If you see everybody dying because of what you saying, it don’t matter that you didn’t make them die, it just matters that you didn’t save them.”
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment]