2021 Student Research Conference:
34th Annual Student Research Conference

To Pimp a Butterfly: An Exploration of Identity and Cross-Cultural Relations Through a Rap Album’s Synthesis of Late Twentieth-Century African-American Musical Genres


Theodore D. Greer
Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentor

Incorporating genres such as jazz, funk, and spoken word, as well as a variety of rap subgenres such as G-funk (gangsta rap), jazz rap, and conscious rap, Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly fuses diverse African-American musics of the twentieth century with a modern approach to curation, both paying homage to and reinvigorating genres of the past while bolstering the ethos of the modern work and trailblazing an approach to rap more explicitly conscious of its musical lineage. This presentation highlights the conclusions found in surveying the album as a whole, as well as in analyzing in depth four of the album’s sixteen tracks within the context of the genre’s musical predecessors. Considerations from both a musical and textual perspective are included.

Keywords: Rap, Hip-Hop

Topic(s):Music
African-American Studies
Interdisciplinary Studies

Presentation Type: Asynchronous Virtual Oral Presentation

Session: 15-5
Location: https://flipgrid.com/899114aa
Time: 0:00

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