chapter  5
30 Pages

The good, the m.A.A.d, and the holy

Kendrick Lamar’s meditations on sin and moral agency in the post-gangsta era
WithJuan M. Floyd-Thomas

Juan M. Floyd-Thomas’s chapter, “The Good, the m.A.A.d., and the Holy: Kendrick Lamar’s Meditations on Sin and Moral Agency in the Post-Gangsta Era,” examines the ways in which Lamar grapples with notions of sin on both an individual and a communal basis within the African American experience. Here Floyd-Thomas argues the most consistent and unwavering facet of Lamar’s work has been his incisive commentary and musing on the cumulative impact immoral and ‘illicit’ acts have had on his generation born and raised in the shadow of gangsta rap’s emergence within the global cultural milieu. Exploring the relevance of ‘West Coast’ sensibilities as fomenters of Lamar’s interest in morality, alongside thorough analysis drawing parallels with St. Augustine, Floyd-Thomas presents Lamar as a marker of the contemporary complexities concerning making right-action in a world with so little of it and leaves readers with the impression that, at the very least, Lamar is honest enough to help navigate the moral terrain.