chapter  13
14 Pages

“Real nigga conditions”

Kendrick Lamar, grotesque realism, and the open body

Anthony B. Pinn, in ‘“Real Nigga Conditions’: Kendrick Lamar, Grotesque Realism, and the Open Body,” argues there are layers to Kendrick Lamar’s track “DNA.” – layers that “chronicle the thick and contradictory nature of black/end existence.” Pinn’s interest in “DNA.” as well as the entire album DAMN. rest, in part, in this conveyed complexity, including emotional and psychological forces, social structures and “network identifications,” history and genealogy, metaphysical perspectives, and the concrete physiological building blocks of life. In this way, Lamar’s “DNA.” speaks to what thinkers such as Mikhail Bakhtin have positioned as the grotesque body, or what Pinn references as the “open body” – the body “porous” and in relationship to the world. Furthermore, Pinn argues that Lamar offers in the track (as well as in Lamar’s lyrics more generally) a “psycho-ethical” response to the human encounter with the world marked by a mode of black moralism in the tradition of W. E. B. Du Bois.