Dear Kendrick,

I got no game. Supporting points:

  • Grew up in the suburbs
  • Thought Rosecrans was a person
  • Regularly browse toddler clothing in stores & online (in my defense, my daughter is a toddler)
  • Work from home

At the same time, I find myself disproportionately drawn to your music. My interest in rap waxes and wanes – Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre, Blackalicious, Clipse – and with the exception of Beasties the romances have been fleeting.

What is it about you? The beats get me, no denying that. In 2012, I happily bobbed my head and recited lyrics about “the women, weed and weather” of Los Angeles and swimming pools full of liquor. A lack of personal identification with the topics never phased me.

Then something changed. TPAB was released and its lyrics were so heavily thematic that I felt kind of guilty listening to it. The struggles you wrote about seemed so much more visceral and urgent than my own, and a voice deep down in my gut said “This is not for you.”

I stopped listening. You released Untitled Unmastered, I had a baby and the entire focal point of my life changed. My brain changed. And yet I find myself, two years later, intensely listening to DAMN. on a daily basis. Songs about “real nigger conditions” and hypothetical sexy fights do not apply to me, my family or friends.

Or do they? Themes of anger, frustration, inequality and injustice are (somewhat) universal. Women are by nature subjected to various forms of inequality — some subtle, others less so. Comments can be brushed off, glances ignored, but the double standards are hard or impossible to shake. [Insert vast amounts of supporting evidence from the current US political catastrophe here.]

Despite personal reflection on the topic, overt feminist stances and literature never interest me. Endless torment from female peers throughout my formative years left a bad taste in my mouth. (A little chub and lot of introversion go a long way toward making one an outcast.) Decades later, I still find myself unwilling to rally with many who share my gender yet worry that my daughter will endure similar struggles and wonder what I can do about it.

At minimum I will make sure my quietly simmering fire never burns out, and your music stokes it like kindling. 10–15 years from now, when my baby has trouble with the mean girls at school, I will assure her that they’re jealous of the ambition and flow inside her DNA.

I’m unabashedly appropriating your lyrics to fit my lifestyle am certain that, despite my previous uncertainty, your music is. for. me.

Much respect,
Christine

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