Redefining Location: How Kendrick Lamar Expands Locality in Hip Hop Through DAMN

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Authors
Miller, Hope
Issue Date
2022
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Thesis
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en_US
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Kendrick Lamar has been a household name since 2012, when he released his critically acclaimed album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Lamar, born in Compton California, has released several classic hip hop albums since his rise to fame. This paper evaluates the impact of his most recent solo album, DAMN, on locality and the process of localization in the hip hop community. I argue that Lamar’s album pushes the barriers of traditional understandings of the process of localization and the tools used to achieve it. Lamar expands the concept of locality in hip hop beyond geographical populations, broadening it to include a community influenced by religion, race, education level, and musical style in addition to communities based on a geographical location. I will explore the influence of DAMN on the expansion of locality in regards to hip hop. First, I examine Kendrick Lamar’s past as an individual and an artist, his hometown of Compton, California and its past significant hip hop artists and adopted style. Then, by juxtaposing Lamar’s style to that of established Compton style, I will examine the unique features of Lamar’s music plus his incorporation of traditional Compton style that come together to expand locality in his music beyond Compton itself. I will measure Lamar’s influence on the expansion of the local community by examining the diverse collection of awards, accolades, and recognition received by the album, with attention to album sales and chart placement. Finally, I discuss the potential future influence DAMN could have on expectations regarding the use of locality and the process of localization in hip hop, specifically Compton hip hop.
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51 p.
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