Since birth, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth was heavily influenced by music, from being named after singer Eddie Kendricks to witnessing the filming of Tupac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” at eight years old. Kendrick was brought up on oldies and gangsta rap in the city of Compton, where he would follow his influencers and bring light to his “M.A.A.D City.”
At on set of his rap career 16 year old K-Dot released his first full length mixtape Hub City Threat: Minor Of The Year, which led him to a contract with indie record label Top Dawg Entertainment. Two years later, he released a 28 track mixtape Training Day and began perfecting his craft with tighter freestyle flows. As he began to develop a name for himself and rise with his fellow up and coming rappers, he formed Black Hippy 2009 with Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q. The same year he dropped his third mixtape C4.
In 2010, he released Overly Dedicated with hit tracks “P&P 1.5,” “Michael Jordan,” “Cut You Off,” and “Ignorance Is Bliss” which got the attention of Dr. Dre. The project ended up number 72 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. August of 2011 he dropped Section.80 his first independent album with fan favorites “A.D.H.D.,” “Poe Mans Dreams,” and “HiiiPoWeR” produced by J.Cole.
After signing a deal with Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment in May 2012, Lamar released good kid m.A.A.d city. His second studio album told the story of his adolescent years growing up in Compton with his homies. Each song led flawlessly into the next as if it were a movie. His biggest singles in the album include “The Recipe” featuring Dr. Dre, “Swimming Pools (Drank),” “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “m.A.A.d city” feat. MC Eiht which in the song he reveals stands for “Me, an Angel on Angel Dust.”
Although Lamar had listeners engaged in a new way for good kid m.A.A.d city, he pushed the limit with his 2015 release of To Pimp a Butterfly. A project he continuously says he created for himself as a form of expression. With jazz, funk and soul influences, it grabbed the attention of a range of audiences while sending a message of racial inequality. The spoken word poetry throughout made the entirety of the piece come together. “Alright” won Grammy Awards for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. However, “Mortal Man” was the song that had fans caught off guard with a cameo from Tupac Shakur. The interview was given to him by a German journalist and Kendrick took the audio to show that although Pac was speaking in his time, his words resonate in today’s culture.
Since then, Lamar collaborated with Kanye West on “No More Parties in L.A.” and in March released untitled unmastered., an eight track compilation of unfinished demos from the recording of To Pimp a Butterfly. Kendrick is not only a musical genius, he continuous to be a voice for his community and social justice. Always carrying himself humbly and being a positive example for the youth.
Thus we say, thank you and Happy Birthday, King Kendrick.