chapter  14
17 Pages

DAMNed to the earth

Kendrick Lamar, de/colonial violence, and earthbound salvation
WithBen Lewellyn-Taylor, Melanie C. Jones

Melanie C. Jones and Ben Lewellyn-Taylor’s “DAMNed to the Earth: Kendrick Lamar, De/colonial Violence and Earthbound Salvation,” asserts Lamar’s DAMN. presents a humanist subjectivity that is both “earthbound” and “bound” in the sense of U.S. American racial relations, particularly the tragic hegemonic manifestations of black v. white encounters. Reading Lamar’s DAMN. through Frantz Fanon and womanist theologians Kelly Brown Douglas and Emilie Townes, Jones and Lewellyn-Taylor examine ways by which Lamar at once critiques Fox News for their dehumanizing commentary yet contends that their existence is nonetheless bound with his. Thus, Lamar necessitates a ‘radically subjective’ demand for black recognition by black hip-hop artists as well as accountable white subjectivity that alters white engagements with hip-hop beyond oft-dehumanizing assaults on black meaning making. Using a decolonial womanist cultural criticism, they engage the dualisms presented in the album’s themes (as illuminated by the tracklist) – notably two of the more complex pairings on the album, “XXX.” and “FEAR.” – which serve to construct an earthbound DAMNation revealing the potential for ‘grounded salvation.’