Inside His DNA: How Kendrick Lamar Makes Listeners Empathize and Why That’s Important

In the 2010s, no artist has been better able to center their music on a similar form of faith-infused Black resistance while still holding the gaze of the popular music world than the Compton-born rapper Kendrick Lamar. Since his major-label debut in 2012, Kendrick has been rap’s shadow ruler. He rarely tweets, and in years when he is not actively promoting an album it can feel like he has dropped off the face of the earth. But when Kendrick switches into full gear, his claim to rap’s crown is merely a matter of will. When he wants it, it is his…

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