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The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America

Kendrick Lamar is a man of many parts, a man who started out as a rapper in the time of the rise and rise of hip-hop artists Kanye West and Jay-Z; a quiet man who believed in himself, his poetry and his ability to perform the words that meant so much to him; to be able to reach out to a generation, his be generation as say what needed to be said, to be heard and understood.

Born in Compton, Los Angeles a place of violence, oppression and gangs, the child who sat, watched, absorbed and wrote words down became a name in the world of black oppression, white understanding and music. Taking his art to South Africa in 2014 along with a few other shattering occurrences in his life, gave voice to To Pimp a Butterfly, released in 2015, an album which  struck a chord with black activists and the ‘black struggle’.

The Butterfly Effect is a carefully constructed biography, almost a clinically detailed record of Kendrick Lamar Duckworth which is almost too full of detail, especially if you are not intimate with the world of hip-hop, rap and the modern music that is classed as ‘black’ music. As with many other forms of music such as Blues, the famous Negro Spirituals and Jazz, out of immense oppression comes music that captures the heart strings, is powerful with its message and remains long after the issues that created it have faded into time.

Kendrick Lamar has in his short life pushed this message far and wide, using the power of poetry, music and storytelling to get a message across; Different from many in the realm of ‘black music’ he does not push excess, glory and overindulgence as the message, rather he sees his words seeking out oppression, struggle; a voice to speak out, to reach out to the young to encourage them to do better, be better and take on the challenges of life and living in ‘black’ America.

Considered as one the most influential artist of his generation he has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his last release DAMN, written and produced fourteen tracks for the acclaimed movie Black Panther and much more.

At the age of 33 years Kendrick Lamar has much more to say to the world in general and it will be interesting to see what the next years bring from a man who knows how to harness the power of words and music to touch a chord, to create change to forge  and offer a different pathway through life.

Author Marcus J Moore
Publisher Hachette Australia imprint Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN 9781473696341
Distributor Hachette Australia
Released October 2020