Kendrick Lamar | Biography, Songs & Lyrics
Kendrick Lamar, born on June 17, 1987, in Compton, California, is a highly acclaimed American rapper known by his full name, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth. He rose to prominence with a series of albums that garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success. Notably, his albums “good kid, m.A.A.d city” (2012) and “To Pimp a Butterfly” (2015) are particularly noteworthy in his discography.
Growing up in the challenging neighborhood of Compton, Lamar’s parents had moved from Chicago to seek safety from the prevalent violence. Despite these circumstances, Lamar’s passion for rhyming began in his early teenage years. Under the moniker K. Dot, he released his debut mixtape “Youngest Head Nigga in Charge” in 2003. His talent caught the attention of Anthony Tiffith, the head of Top Dawg Entertainment, a newly established record label. Impressed by Lamar’s musical prowess, Tiffith signed him.
As K. Dot, Lamar released two more mixtapes, “Training Day” (2005) and “C4” (2009), before transitioning to Kendrick Lamar. His debut studio release, “Overly Dedicated” (2010), marked this transition. Lamar’s popularity soared as he featured on tracks by other rappers and joined forces with fellow Top Dawg artists Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and ScHoolboy Q, collectively known as Black Hippy.
In 2011, Lamar’s album “Section.80” was made available on iTunes by Top Dawg, a move that significantly elevated his profile. During the same year, Lamar received a symbolic honor at a concert where veteran rap icons Game, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre ceremoniously anointed him as the “new king of the West Coast.”
In 2012, a pivotal moment arrived as Lamar signed with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. His debut major-label album, “good kid, m.A.A.d. City,” debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album’s singles “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice” achieved R&B/hip-hop success. Characterized as a concept album with a deeply autobiographical narrative, it earned him critical praise. Although nominated for seven Grammy Awards in 2013, including Best Album and Best New Artist, Lamar did not secure a win. However, his single “i” earned him Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance in the following year.
Lamar’s 2015 release, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” became a monumental success. Notably, it set a Spotify streaming record, accumulating over 9.6 million streams within a week of its launch. U.S. President Barack Obama even named “How Much a Dollar Cost” as his favorite song of that year. The subsequent year, Lamar received a remarkable 11 Grammy nominations, winning accolades across categories including Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, and more. His captivating performance of “The Blacker the Berry” further enlivened the ceremony.
In a surprise move, Lamar dropped the album “untitled unmastered” in March 2016, featuring eight tracks described as unfinished demos. His collaboration with Beyoncé on the song “Freedom” earned him Grammy nominations later that year. In 2017, Lamar released “DAMN.,” featuring the hit “HUMBLE.” The album resonated with fans and critics alike, leading to a slew of Grammy wins, including Best Rap Album and several awards for “HUMBLE.” Notably, “DAMN.” made history as the first nonclassical or jazz work to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Lamar’s influence extended beyond his solo work. In 2018, he curated and produced the “Black Panther” soundtrack, contributing to every track and winning a Grammy for the single “King’s Dead.” His 2022 Super Bowl halftime performance alongside Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, and other hip-hop luminaries showcased his enduring impact. That same year, Lamar released his fifth studio album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.” Boasting 18 tracks and diverse collaborations, the album’s complexity and introspection earned it Grammy wins for Best Rap Album, Rap Song, and Rap Performance, with the latter two awards attributed to “The Heart Part 5.” Below you can check out the lyrics to some of Kendrick Lamar’s popular songs.
Listen to the complete discography of Kendrick Lamar on Amazon Music