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Posthuman Rap$
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Justin Adams Burton

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190235451

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190235451.001.0001

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“Cheap and Easy Radicalism”

“Cheap and Easy Radicalism”

The Legible Politics of Kendrick Lamar

(p.45) Chapter 2 “Cheap and Easy Radicalism”
Posthuman Rap

Justin Adams Burton

Oxford University Press

Kendrick Lamar registers as an explicitly political rapper who speaks against police violence and for black solidarity. But the reception of Kendrick Lamar—the idea of Kendrick as found in journalistic accounts of what he does—actually works against this notion of him as a rapper with progressive politics. This chapter explores the way legible politics can be easily co-opted into the mainstream by considering how Kendrick is received in a post-race, anti-black political discourse. The post-race reception of Kendrick takes the same form as neoliberalism’s creative destruction; his politics parallel neoliberalism’s economics. Lester Spence’s theory of black parallel publics in hip hop is expanded to include more contemporary examples and a post-race milieu.

Keywords:   Kendrick Lamar, political rap, hip hop, parallel public, Lester Spence, neoliberalism, post-race

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