Is Kendrick Lamar the beginning of the end to street rap? From a mainstream perspective, this is possibly a real situation. In a recent interview, K. Dot spoke about the realities of his life and also the perception of the change which is coming to the streets.
Kendrick Lamar and his album To Pimp a Butterfly has set a new standard for mainstream rap songs. While there are various underground artists who honor hip hop in a similar fashion, those individuals or groups aren’t at such an affluent pinnacle to affect the culture as a whole.
In recent Kendrick Lamar news, K. Dot has been turning the music industry on its head — as far as rap and hip hop are concerned.
Kendrick's Wins: Best Rap Performance/Rap Song/Rap Album
Kendrick's Losses: Best Album/Best Song
Don't need BoB to see the conspiracy there
— Nathan Slavik (@refinedhype) February 16, 2016
In an interview with Noisey, Kendrick Lamar invited the news medium to “Bompton” — the Bloods’ side of Compton.
There, Noisey gathered massive insight into Kendrick’s songs and his album. During the interview, Lamar mentioned that his neighborhood comes out to support him every time he comes to Compton. While Kendrick has left the hood, he remembers it, and he goes back to support its come-up as well.
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly album gave all listeners — fans and non-fans — a view into a world they may not have known, prior to its release, notes Noisey‘s Zach Goldbaum.
During Lamar’s interview, he stated that — given his geographic location, Compton — he could’ve easily bragged, via trap music, about street life and the trials he’s overcome. Instead, he’s attempting to focus on an uplifting paradigm since the streets are saturated with aforementioned, similar professions from those who aren’t trying to change.
Kendrick states that he would rather discuss the problems behind and solutions to the actions plaguing street life, instead of focusing solely on the end product. Likewise, Lamar noted that there are actually people in the inner city trying to “do something different” and “spark positivity,” even in the midst of nonsensical violence.
If you’d like to watch Kendrick Lamar’s recent Noisey interview, the video is found below.
[Disclaimer: This video contains mature and explicit content. Viewer discretion is advised.]
Essentially, the message K. Dot is trying to spread is “unity and positivity.” You can hear that from one of the songs on his latest album, right? In Kendrick Lamar’s “i,” he spoke about unifying Crips and Bloods, even elaborating on how senseless black-on-black crime has been throughout history.
Well, apparently, the uplifting message isn’t settling well with a few artists in the game. For instance, in an interview from The Breakfast Club, French Montana subtly blamed Kendrick for “street rap” dying out. According to a report from DJ Booth, French Montana’s Excuse My French album sold only 98,000 copies. So, in essence, his argument stems from the assumption that all trap music is on its way out the door.
Mainstream songs tend to lean toward “sex, money, and drugs.” Unfortunately, that collective has been the dominant voice of urban culture since the late ’90s — and even before that time.
However, at the same time, trap or street music has its venues and demographics — and probably always will. As the DJ Booth source mentions, the end of “street rap” is more of a stance on mainstream songs. The source notes that, during Lamar’s Grammy performance, it was as if the night belonged to the “Alright” artist. Likewise, another instance French used in his interview is that mainstream music is trying to eliminate trap music from the radio waves. And, supposedly, that’s why the spotlight is so brightly on Lamar.
While Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly wasn’t exactly the sound that mainstream rap songs have been in the past, the content was definitely still real life — dealing with even more real issues. For instance, one of Kendrick’s closest friends is a West Side Piru Blood who chose the gang life when Lamar began pursuing music, as mentions Noisey.
Overall, the issue is that Kendrick Lamar threatens that way of life for the rap game. His album and surprise songs, which he springs on audiences, like those at the Grammy Awards, influence the masses. You might argue that there are songs “more deep” and in greater affluence than those from Lamar. However, Kendrick affects the majority demographic of people from his particular brand of pain and street life.
With a different delivery, Kendrick Lamar opens up urban culture to something greater than what is seen around its immediate environment — something of better quality to aspire than staying trapped in “the trap.”
So, is Kendrick Lamar’s album and songs the beginning of the end to mainstream street rap? What’s your stance on K. Dot’s effect in music and the industry? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via YouTube]