Interview with Author Marcus J. Moore

Weeks before the Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America went to print, New York/Kenyan based journalist Marcus J. Moore modified the book’s dedication by including the names of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, lives “lost to state-sanctioned violence,” names that have brought a reckoning to the United States, and the world, even amidst a pandemic. “Sadly, I could be updating it every month,” said Moore, speaking from Kenya. “As a Black American you’re just taught to live with trauma.”

Calling Lamar a “sensitive, super lyrical wordsmith who operates like a jazz musician,” Moore likens the writing of the bookthe first biography on the Pulitzer Prize winning rapper—to the famous “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold” story (title of the 1966 book by Gay Talese). Like Talese, without ever interviewing the artist, he’s crafted a vivid picture of an artist by way of friends, collaborators, and activists. Blossoming from an introspective boy with a stutter to a gifted teen, Butterfly Effect merges music, politics, and history with a loving Compton community actively willing Lamar forward despite landmines that awaited:  police brutality, gang culture and systematic oppression—a toxic societal cocktail that drives his work. And like Stanley Nelson’s 2018 documentary, “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool,” Moore presents a nuanced, complicated exploration of Black masculinity, trauma, and visionary creativity.

Today, Lamar is one of the seminal artists of our time. Moore’s book takes on this journey, as well as the tragic and triumph experience of being Black in The Americas.  

Continue reading at The Globe and Mail.