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New Beginnings

This class has helped me think about certain topics I am interested in through various forms of multi-media journalism. From keeping up with my blog, to making sure I have to check on my Twitter, this class has taught me a lot in the world of marketing.

This class taught me how to balance everything, while maintaining a certain level of professionalism. I am thankful to have had this opportunity to be taught by someone who pushed me, and I am thankful for the classmates who encompassed this journey with me.

The biggest thing I can take away from this course is time management. I didn’t always have everything together, but I sure as well understood that without planning, journalism isn’t the road for me. This course taught me valuable traits that I can take with me on my journey to finding a career in journalism or film, as well as traits that can help me within my final two years at Xavier. Every week was different, and that is what kept me engaged in this course; knowing that there was something else to do and another need to fulfill. I will certainly keep up with my blog during the summer. No grade can be worth more than the knowledge I have amassed in this course.

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DAMN: In Depth Analysis

From the first track on Damn, it’s clear Kendrick Lamar is not going to tread lightly. On the intro track, he samples the voice of Fox News reporter, Geraldo Rivera, who criticized and misquoted Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 hit, Alright. Kendrick puts a musical spin on the words and turned it into a track of his own.

When we get to the track, DNA, we are pleased to hear a change in production from Kendrick’s last project. His 2015 project, TPAB was riddled with Jazz instrumentals and simple production on drum patterns. DNA rivals his last project entirely by itself. The Mike-Will production that transitions into a change of instrumental captures your attention, and with a close ear for lyrics, you’d be surprised how much Kendrick has grown.

Element, the fourth track on the project, is a song of Kendrick asserting his dominance in rap history and daring other rappers to question his claims. With James Blake on the production, Kendrick makes sure you understand that he has both feet fully in the door. Some believe this song is a response to those who criticized Kendrick for collaborating with several Pop artists throughout 2016. Whether it’s true or not, it’s a song to remember.

With the track Pride, Kendrick dives into his recognition of his role in music history. The vocal pitch changes can be seen as rivaling thoughts and the underlining contrast of his ideals and his actions. It’s quite entertaining to see that Kendrick broadens this ideology, as he makes his instrumental on Pride to sound very humble, and his next track, ironically named Humble, to sound very energetic.

It’s obvious that this album had a certain spirituality when looking at the track titles. There’s a certain mindset Kendrick was in when constructing these songs, as he’s reflecting on his life and certain aspects of it. This is a story of Kendrick overcoming his own wickedness. Playing the album from Blood to Duckworth, Kendrick is displaying a downward spiral to his weakness, his family. Kendrick addresses many moments in his life and his family throughout the project, something he hasn’t done much of since Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.

Growth is something Kendrick does wonderfully. He has always brought in new ideas and always rises above his last project. Kendrick is an artist that gives you the art and politely asks you to review it. I imagine Kendrick as being a painter that never receives credit for his work. He is very humble in his understanding of who he is and his talent, which makes it all the better.

Visual Fascination

When I was eleven, one of my older cousins gave me her old camera. It was a film camera and I was only given two rolls. I went through them in two days and got my film developed for free as the store owner, Mr. Sanchez, said I was too young to pay and he would do it, “free of charge.”

From then on, I was given a digital camera and took pictures at family events and friends’ parties, trying to capture rare moments in life. I spent years at other stores in my hometown, getting film developed from old cameras and editing pictures from my digital camera.

I was recently given the opportunity to take pictures for a musician who would hire myself as his personal photographer. The first person I called when I was given this opportunity to Mr. Sanchez. He said it was meant to happen and I asked if I could come back at any point in my life to develop any pictures in the future. He responded, “why yes.. free of charge.”

What will be on Kendrick Lamar’s upcoming album?

Kendrick Lamar is no doubt, one of the greatest rappers that Hip-Hop has ever seen. His growth from a typical Los Angeles -born rapper, to an industry icon has nothing short of amazing.

One thing that has set Kendrick Lamar apart from other artists is his ability to change the topic of conversation on his albums. From talking about his inner psychosis on Section 8.0, to politics and race on TPAB, Kendrick has shown that he has the ability to versatile in his music.

When we listen to “The Heart, Part (4)”, his newest project’s first single, Kendrick introduces a bravado unlike we’ve ever heard. He calls himself the greatest rapper alive and seems to diss Drake, telling him that Jay-Z is the only rapper above him. He also says that his competition has until April 7th to get their stuff together. From his newly released single, we understand that he isn’t going to be a relaxed Kendrick, reminding us about his debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, that talked about his upbringing in Compton, CA.

It’s difficult preparing yourself for a Kendrick album, as he always introduces themes of his old projects into his latest one. By that analysis, we should hear about his mindset, gang culture and race playing into 2017. We heard a brief snippet of the Trump presidency and Kendrick’s thoughts on it.

Imagine Schoolboy Q and Isaiah Rashad as appetizers and TDE as a restaurant, with Kendrick being the world famous main course. You’re grateful for the food that will hold you over, but everything you’re waiting for is in the entrée.

For now, we can’t wait to see what Chef Kendrick is cooking, but all we know is that it would be great.

Hip Hop Lyrics and their Social Impact

Black Culture plays an integral role in the way other races interpret Black Americans. From stereotypes in movies, television shows and modern news, our world seems confined to the ways in which media represents us. One of the ways we have outlasted these stereotypes is through music.
Music has always been important to the Black community, even in the days of our ancestors back in Africa. While pop culture since the 1980s has ultimately been shaped by everything hip-hop, there always seems to be a reason as to why we aren’t exceeding in mainstream media. From Migos, a rap group in Atlanta that has broken several music records held by the Beatles, to N.W.A., a group from South-central Los Angeles that shaped the way police were seen in the country, Black Americans have shown that their only rival is themselves when it comes to maintaining a proper image.
Hip-Hop has always been labeled as an outlaw genre, as the NYPD itself has several task forces that deal with Hip-Hop artists in the city. After the breakout of Gangster-Rap in the 1990s, gang culture, violence and Hip-Hop have always gone hand-in-hand. One question that often plagues rap is, where is the line drawn between exploiting violence, and glorifying it? A recent poll on twitter asked users if they think rappers use their lyrics to explain their struggles or to exploit a popular trend, with 62 percent agreeing that they do. As many have found success in talking about a violent upbringing, many have been blamed for corrupting the youth, and changing the ways in which authority in black communities are seen.
“It’s definitely hard to tell the real from the fakes,” says New York native, Assad Adeyola. “But violence in any form comes from a great struggle. The real question to ask is what they’ve struggled with,” he says.
In more modern times, rappers have switched from selling drugs to using them. One begins to wonder if they are just substituting ways to cope with their struggle. Atlanta rapper, Future, says that he doesn’t event use drugs for the most part, even with his biggest project to date being named after a cough syrup-induced drink used by many Southern rappers.
Merlot Guerrero is a Southern California native and an intern at the television network, ViceLand. “Music has always been a part of my life, but I choose to listen to music that doesn’t exploit drugs,” she said. “Drugs have always been popular to rap music, selling or using but that’s something I’m not a fan of.” Merlot says.
It’s always positive to see a rags-to-riches story, as that is the American dream. To go from selling illegal substances to making millions of dollars, it’s always great to see dreams come true. We think rappers should be held responsible and persecuted for telling their life story and how they made it onto the main stage, but the important thing to remember is, they made it. Whether their lyrics are lies, or they’re promoting violence against police, one must remember that Hip-Hop is art, and art has never gotten along with authority.