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Kendrick Lamar's Damn was the critics' favourite album of 2017

Kendrick Lamar’s sparse and hard-hitting rap treatise, Damn, is music critics’ favourite record of 2017. The album, which explores the conflicts in Lamar’s personal life, his faith and American society, has topped a “poll of polls” compiled by BBC News. Second place went to SZA’s sensual, intimate and partially-improvised R&B album, CTRL. Pop star Lorde came third with Melodrama, an exhilarating song cycle about the angst and ecstasy of youth. Melodrama was co-written and produced by Jack Antonoff, who worked on two other albums in the critics’ top 20 –…

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Game of Thrones' Ellie Kendrick wants to open up 'closed shop' film industry

After starring in Game of Thrones and a string of indie films, Ellie Kendrick is one of British acting’s rising stars. She’s also doing her bit to give underrepresented young talent a leg up. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know – and that’s particularly true in the film and TV industries, according to Kendrick. When it comes to going to drama school or funding your first short film, it’s also about how much money you’ve got. “I’ve worked in the film industry on and off for about…

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Kendrick Lamar tops VMA winners in Los Angeles

Rapper Kendrick Lamar has taken six prizes at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. He won best video of the year for Humble, as well as best hip-hop artist, after opening the awards ceremony with a live performance. Ed Sheeran – who won artist of the year – was live on stage with rapper Lil Uzi Vert, but Taylor Swift was a no-show. Fans had to be content with the premiere of her new video Look What You Made Me Do. The video shows the 27-year-old singer emerging…

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The Autofictions of Kendrick Lamar

At the start of his popular ascendance, Kendrick Lamar made a point of hiding. In the 2012 video for “Money Trees,” he was shot askance, frequently blocking the camera’s view with his hand in a gesture of cool self-protection. The “spectacle” of Lamar was instead his own handle on his voice—or voices. Lamar is a rapper who engages modulations like singers do; his voice is an instrument of feeling. With it, he darts easily across the range of masculine consciousness; he can sound wry, and then, all of a sudden,…

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Culture 

Kendrick Lamar’s Lyrics Get the Images They Deserve in the Video for “ELEMENT.”

At the beginning of Kendrick Lamar’s new video for “ELEMENT.,” a single dark-skinned hand rises, open-palmed, from blue water. For a moment, it recalls the final frames of Beyoncé’s “Formation” video, in which she sinks into the C.G.I. New Orleans floodwaters while lying atop a police car and then, immediately after, in another scene, twirls her hand as she sits primly on a living-room chair. But, as many Web sites, blogs, and Twitter users have pointed out, Lamar’s video—directed by him, his manager and childhood friend Dave Free, and the…

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