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Art and music are indeed some of the most efficient and fit platforms to address social problems. Besides, being as subjective and democratic as it is, music is meant to entertain but sometimes it might also make you think.

Kendrick Lamar is an exponent of this music slant in our generation.

“Institutionalized” is a track from his iconic album “To pimp a butterfly”, one of the bravest works from a rapper in these last years.

The lyrics are just as brave as Kendrick, Bilal and Snoop Dogg rap about how the ghetto life is so embed in them (“You can take your boy out the hood but you can’t take the hood out the homie”) and are carried with them anywhere, even after they achieved success and money.

Their personal experiences here work as an inductive method for bigger cultural and social questions. How much role does a cultural background play in one’s personality? The line between staying true to your essence and being stuck to your past chains, where does it begin and where does it end?

Kendrick raps: “If I was the president / I'd pay my mama's rent / Free my homies and them / Bulletproof my Chevy doors / Lay in the White House and get high”.

So, his essence pretty much never changed after he became famous, but is this something good or something bad? At least for the matters of the point view addressed in this song, it seems something bad since he also says “I'm trapped inside the ghetto and I ain't proud to admit it”.

His mindset is institutionalized, just like the roots of the oppression and racism that he comes from.

Overall, this is a very brave song with a very jazzy groovy beat – actually, two amazing beats! The first beat changes in the middle of the song to an even more chilling one, as the lyrics keep the same level of deepness.

I love the fact that music can give people an overview of culture by allowing individuals to have a voice, and Kendrick’s voice is definitely one worth listening to.

You can learn more about Kendrick Lamar here:

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About the curator: Ana Clara Ribeiro 

Ana Clara Ribeiro - Musicto Curator

Music, art and entertainment have always played a big role in the life of Ana Clara Ribeiro. She grew up in Gurupi (an inland city in Tocantins, the youngest State of Brazil), listening to all kinds of music, reading, writing, watching stuff and connecting them to her personal beliefs and other ideas she read about.

As she became a lawyer and a writer, all the topics to which she is constantly exposed continued to give her insights about life, people and the universe, through the lenses of art.

Nowadays, when she isn’t analyzing lawsuits or producing content about Law, Marketing, Business or Music, she is certainly doing something related to her various personal and professional projects, always to the sound of a playlist as eclectic as her life.