The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library
Guest blog post by Benji Katz.
In a year with so much turmoil in the headlines, it’s no surprise a record with a socially conscience message is up for album of the year. However, it may come as a shock to some that rapper, Kendrick Lamar tops the list for this year’s Grammy nominations with a whopping 11 for his concept album "To Pimp a Butterfly."
Featuring an eclectic array of studio musicians, Hip hop has never before been used as such a fertile vessel for experimentation. The revolutionary rapper tackles themes of gang violence, systemic racism and personal identity, chronicling every step on his journey from poverty to success. The audio autobiography is woven together by a poem Kendrick has written to explain the negative effects his career has had on his global outlook. While the message always comes first in this case, there is no way to win a Grammy without engaging the listener, which this album does incredibly with club hits, “King Kunta” and “Alright” as well as funk inspired songs like “Wesley’s Theory”. With instrumental virtuosity, ingenious song writing and virtually every lyric in "To Pimp a Butterfly" being packed with meaning it is clear that there is a rap industry before this album and a music industry after this album that will never be the same.
About Benji Katz:
Benji is a senior at Bowling Green State University, pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He enjoys reading poetry, studying history as well as listening to and playing music in genres ranging from Jazz to Rap to Rock n’ Roll.
Featured image: Black and white photo of Kendrick Lamar by Batiste Safont via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons license).
Photo in body of post: Kendrick Lamar Pulitzer 2018 portraits by Fuzheado via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons license).