Kendrick Lamar and unification through vulnerability


The Appalachian Online

Lauren Burrows

Young adults will always struggle with the “big issues” in life – trying to figure out who they are, why they are here and how they relate to the world around them.

The struggle of existence surrounds understanding and answering these questions for oneself, primarily young adults in their 20s.

It is easy to isolate ourselves with these problems when often we are not able to decipher the issues inside our own heads, and feel as if we are all alone, whether the struggle be with depression, race, gender identity, addiction or simply confusion and uncertainty of our individual place in the universe.

Artists in pop culture are opening themselves up to publicly admit their questions, struggles and wars that wage inside their minds – similar to our own.

Listeners can relate to this transparency and suddenly, they are not the only ones facing the confusion that can become so crippling when kept private.

Kendrick Lamar’s sophomore album “To Pimp a Butterfly” was released on iTunes Sunday night, a week earlier than the expected March 23 release date.

Eruption over the much anticipated release inevitably occurred, but for more than just Lamar’s popularity.

He speaks of his life as a young black man, his problems at home, his violent upbringing, his yearning for faith and his crippling thoughts. The album serves as a storybook, allowing for spoken word pieces and poetic devices not usually exhibited in mainstream music.

There are parts of the track “u,” where he is screaming at himself, basically having a nervous breakdown while recording. Most of the album would be considered risque, with every track labeled explicit, but this harsh explicitness is necessary to capture the largeness behind the problems he and all of us face.

Appalachian State University has been dealing with misunderstandings revolving around many issues, primarily race, privilege and relations between different races.

Being vulnerable is one of the most dangerous things a human being can do because it opens oneself up to others and their judgement. But if we can muster up the courage to be more open, we can better understand each other’s struggles and find the underlying similarities of the confusions of life we all face at this age.

Through this transparency, young adults have begun to find unification in the acknowledgement that we all face these questions and are searching for answers, and that the answers often do not come easily.

Even if you do not agree with Lamar’s beliefs and how he deals with problems, you should respect and give credit to his brave openness.

Burrows, a freshman journalism major from Mint Hall, is an opinion writer.

STORY: Lauren Burrows, Opinion Writer