The tunnel that leads from the Coliseum BART station to Oracle Arena boasts some of the most diverse hustles per square foot. There’s great live music, reliable hot dog carts, whose sizzling bacon serves as a fragrant flag; unofficial tour merch; and of course last minute tickets. On Friday night, as the DAMN. Tour took over the arena, Black Israelites, who Kendrick Lamar name drops in DAMN., his latest album, which is already double platinum certified, joined the tunnel of hustle. Dressed in purple garb, they passed out flyers reciting Lamar’s verse on “YAH.”: “I’m a Israelite, don’t call me Black no more.”
Over the course of his musical career, spanning four studio albums and five mixtapes, Lamar’s central thesis has been Black life in America — its miracles, its traumas, and its quotidian rituals. Through his lyrics and his videos, Lamar elucidates, complicates, and challenges notions of Black joy and suffering at individual, community and systemic levels. His studious dedication also extends to his role as a listener of rap, and his masterful style bears lineage of the likes of Tupac, Nas, and Outkast. These factors combined have distinguished Lamar from his peers in talent, yes, but also in responsibility.
In an interview with Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Adichie spoke of the responsibility she took on with writing her historical novel Half of a Yellow Sun: “I’ve been a dutiful…
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