Why Kendrick Lamar Is a Sensitive Rapper

The lyrical rapper, like his current rival Drake, also shows his emotional side at the BET Hip Hop Awards.

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So, yes. Lamar calls Drake, or whomever, a "sensitive rapper," whether or not he thinks of him as such. It's par for the course in hip-hop battling to use clever strategies to paint the opponent as soft and weak. But think about it. Aren't hip-hop's greatest -- Nas, Jay Z, Andre 3000, MC Lyte, Rakim -- recognized as such because of the techniques they use to inject emotion and passion into their anecdotes?

Here's the lesson: Hip-hop wouldn't be hip-hop if it weren't for cathartic spaces like cyphers where MCs can safely express their sensitive stories and sharpen their skills through constructive battling with one another.

Joycelyn A. Wilson is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech and a Hiphop Archive alumnus fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute, part of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

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Joycelyn A. Wilson is an assistant professor in the educational foundations program at Virginia Tech and director of the Four-Four Beat Project. Follow her on Twitter.

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