The good folks at Vibe asked me and a bunch of industry types to weigh in on Kendrick Lamar’s beef with GQ. In a nutshell, Kendrick and Top Dawg Entertainment felt that his recent cover story was “disrespectful” and had racial undertones. The magazine’s E-I-C disagreed. Peep the story here and my thoughts below:
“When mainstream media reports on any niche culture–that includes hip-hop–things often get lost in translation. I have no idea what the GQ writer’s credential are, but this profile clearly reflects the perspective of a cultural tourist; someone with little affinity for the culture beyond stereotypes. I understand GQ’s target audience is not made up of hip-hop heads, but as someone who both writes frequently for mainstream audiences and loves hip-hop, I know for a fact that you can profile a rapper without pandering to him nor relying on antiquated notions (and outdated references to Death Row Records).
GQ is one of the few remaining media platforms with remarkable access that artists actually want to speak with. After all, when’s the last time Kendrick flew another magazine writer on his private jet?! With that level of power comes responsibility.”