Hip-Hop is going through an identity crisis at the moment. The culture as a whole is arguably one of the most misunderstood and stereotyped in common society, yet still gets caught up on a need for "mainstream" acceptance.
Big business understands the power of Hip-Hop. Marketing to the group that dictates "what's poppin'" is a carefully choreographed dance, that doesn't always go so well.
Kendrick Lamar's GQ cover is a perfect example. The feature story, opens with Lamar's "little bro" succumbing to wounds from a drive-by shooting. His label home, Top Dawg Entertainment, is called "the Baby Death Row," and TDE CEO Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith is likened to Suge Knight. The story as a whole surrounds a dichotomy in which Lamar now resides. Part hood (reppin' Compton) and part rap star (the interview takes place on a private jet, 10,000 miles above the CPT).
Photos: GQ, The Source, XXL, Def Sounds