In characterizing his second studio album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, as a “short film” Kendrick Lamar offers something of a public declaration: We, the listening audience, are not hearing another hip-hop album, just another “autobiography” or slice of one person’s life, but, rather, something else; we are hearing a mixture of social, cultural, and personal narrative truth in what will be termed “autoethnography.” In doing so, Lamar offers us a new way of thinking about hip-hop as a whole, not simply as a capitalistic enterprise or as a “black news” channel but as a distinct method for collecting data and understanding the experiences and existence of black people. While autoethnography is not a new method for research, it has been underutilized in philosophy as an approach to reading “texts” of all sorts, in particular Africana texts. This article analyzes Kendrick Lamar’s second album to demonstrate why autoethnography is important as both a way of understanding reality and an expression of reality and also why it is centrally important for “doing” Africana philosophy.


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pp. 488-498
Launched on MUSE
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