When I think about “Alright” immediately I assume that the genre of the song is hip hop/rap. This is because of the combination of knowledge I have on both the song and the artists. Kendrick Lamar considers himself a rapper from Compton, USA – a birth place for West Coast rap. Therefore, it would be assumed that any content that he creates would most likely be rap. Merriam- Webster defined rap as, “a type of music of African American origin in which rhythmic and usually rhyming speech is changed to a musical accompaniment”. While I do believe that “Alright” fits this definition, I could also see it under the genre of spoken word poetry. Spoken word poetry, “…can encompass or contain elements of rap, hip-hop, storytelling, theater and jazz, rock, blues, and folk music” according to the Poetry Foundation website. I would consider this spoken word poetry, obviously because of the roots that it has in rap, but also because of how it is characterized. For example, in the definition on The Poetry Foundation’s website, it says that it is, “…. characterized by rhyme, repetition, improvisation, and word play, spoken word poems frequently refer to issues of social justice, politics, race and community”. When we look at the lyrics of “Alright” there are so many examples of these topics. For example, in the second verse Lamar raps,


“Digging in my pocket, ain’t a profit big enough

To feed you

Everyday my logic get another dollar just to

Keep you

In the presence of your chico…ah!”


In this part of the song, Kendrick is talking about how nothing is good enough for him/people these days. Material things can never satisfy someone because they just want more. This topic of greed and materialism fulfilling love is a topic that is delved into and talked about by many artists as a topic of community and what it means to find love. “Alright” doesn’t just talk about race and politics, but it also talks about topics of self-reflection such as materialism replacing a sense of human love.



I think “Alright” embodies these genres through its repetition, word play, and content. While it has all of these elements, it also has the Jazz instrumental elements that not all rap songs encompass. For example, you can hear elements saxophone, snare drum, and piano – all important instruments for jazz. It also embodies these characteristics through the many ways it has been performed. For example, during the 2015 Grammy performance, we see Kendrick performing the song in a poetic way much different than if he were performing the song at a concert setting.


“Alright” doesn’t just focus on one genre and a basic meaning, it has multiple meanings and messages therefore, the genres that come along with it are also going to be different and will add to the different meanings of the song.