(K. Brent Tomer),
ALL is quiet in hip-hop’s game of thrones. “Kendrick Lamar, the best rapper alive, is still the best rapper alive”, ran one headline after the release last week of “DAMN.”, the star’s fourth studio album. The consensus among critics and fans seems to be that this is that rarest thing, an artist at the height of his powers, rendering all others forgotten. A review in Time took pains to state that Mr Lamar is not merely excellent but also the Most Important Rapper in America.
If Mr Lamar’s status is uncontested, he is also an uncontroversial figure compared to rap’s previous supremos. He refrains from drugs and seldom drinks. He lacks Tupac Shakur’s aggression and Eminem’s fetish for gore. Whereas Kanye West was described by Barack Obama as a “jackass”, Mr Lamar was invited last year to perform at the White House on the 4th of July. The rapper’s fondness for quoting scripture, ably demonstrated on his latest album, would surely put the current Republican president to shame. His intellectual heft delights university-educated music critics. Azealia Banks, a female rapper, once accused him of “playing that non-threatening black man…Continue reading