I live in India, and the introduction to hip-hop or rap music happened to me through a Bollywood movie Gully Boy. I understood that hip-hop is a way of expression like any art form, just that you need good ears to listen and the right mind to understand.
A few months ago, I listened to Kendrick's song in Apple Music, and it didn't connect with me. I was recommended a podcast, Dissected, in one of my favourite podcasts Acquired. Dissected, as the name says, goes deep into an album and its soundtracks. It gives you a ton of context about the artist, their background, history, and why the song is written that way.
I was stunned at some of the works of Kendrick after listening to the podcast. I am aware that the US has a vast history of slavery and the oppression of black people. But I never knew the impact it has on ordinary people like Kendrick, his parents and the people of Compton. Hip-hop can be dismissed as trash and cacophony, but the loss in people who reject it. The sly and masterful way Kendrick takes a dig at the U.S government, capitalism and people who exploit them. Also using the medium to convey his story and transformation from K-Dot to Kendrick is quite inspiring. This makes me realise that I have not appreciated this medium and understood it well.
I truly feel why a lot of people I respect in social media are big fans of Kendrick Lamar. Next time when I am going to listen to the track of Kendrick or other hip-hop artists, I am going to be more conscious about it and try to listen actively and understand about it.