Kendrick Lamar has established himself at the forefront of contemporary Hip-Hop culture. Artistically adventurous and socially conscious, he has been unapologetic in using his art form, rap music, to address issues affecting black lives while also exploring subjects fundamental to the human experience, such as religious belief. This book is the first to provide an interdisciplinary academic analysis of the impact of Lamar’s corpus. In doing so, it highlights how Lamar’s music reflects current tensions that are keenly felt when dealing with the subjects of race, religion and politics.
Starting with Section 80 and ending on DAMN., this book deals with each of Lamar’s four major projects in turn. A panel of academics, journalists and hip-hop practitioners show how religion, in particular black spiritualties, take a front-and-centre role in his work. They also observe that his astute and biting thoughts on race and culture may come from an African American perspective, but many find something familiar in Lamar’s lyrical testimony across great chasms of social and geographical difference.
This sophisticated exploration of one of popular culture’s emerging icons reveals a complex and multi-faceted engagement with religion, faith, race, art and culture. As such, it will be vital reading for anyone working in Religious, African American and Hip-Hop studies, as well as scholars of Music, Media and Popular Culture.
Introduction: K.Dotting the American Cultural Landscape with Black Meaning
Anthony B. Pinn and Christopher M. Driscoll
Part I: Section.80 (2011)
in Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80
Margarita Simon Guillory
Daniel White Hodge
Michael L. Thomas
Part II: good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012)
Meditations on Sin and Moral Agency in the Post-Gangsta Era
Juan M. Floyd-Thomas
the Filter of Black Realness on good kid, m.A.A.d. city
as Compton Griot-Riff at the Crossroads of Climate-Apocalypse
James W. Perkinson
Christopher M. Driscoll
Part III: To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
Monica R. Miller
in the Rap Music of Kendrick Lamar
Darrius D. Hills
of the Jimi Hendrix/Richie Havens Identity Revolution
as Faintly Evidenced by the work of Kendrick Lamar
and More than a Head Nod to Lupe Fiasco
and an Ethics of the Wound
Part IV: DAMN. (2017)
and the Open Body
Anthony B. Pinn
and Earthbound Salvation
Ben Lewellyn-Taylor and Melanie C. Jones
Hebrew Israelite Religion, and the Politics of Celebrity Encounter
in Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.
André E. Key
Constructive Project in DAMN.
Conclusion: KENosis: The Meaning of Kendrick Lamar
Monica R. Miller
Routledge Studies in Hip Hop and Religion advances critical issues in hip hop and religion studies with particular focus on and attention to the category of religion, highlighting and bringing together a diverse set of voices, perspectives, and approaches. Books in this series contribute to dynamic conversations across a wide field of inquiry, including: theory and method for the study of hip hop and religion; the role of technology and new media in the development of hip hop culture and the mediation of meaning; aesthetics/performance of hip hop and the cosmology and performance of social belief; hip hop, religion and embodiment; identity formation as cultural/religious process and strategic/tactical operational acts; the role of hip hop in faith institutions; and hip hop, religion, and gender/class/sexuality/politics.
The key objectives of the series are:
(1) To offer an expansive contribution to the field of hip hop and religion studies that explores critical issues and formative questions that engage a variety of hip hop cultural products and sources, especially those that make use of the tools, methods, and approaches in the academic study of religion.
(2) To offer a space for research monographs and edited collections that will be of continued use to scholars in the field, graduate students, and, when possible, undergraduate audiences in the academic study of religion and beyond.
(3) To provide critical roadmaps exploring and explaining major topics, questions, data, and critical trends in the study of hip hop and religion and the changing and expanding academic engagements with it.