Kendrick Lamar Biography – Kendrick Lamar is an award-winning popular rapper and songwriter who is best known for his innovative take on life in Southern California as well as for his affiliation with the popular rap star and super-producer Dr. Dre.
Who Is Kendrick Lamar?
Kendrick Lamar whose full name is Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is popularly known as Kendrick Lama.
Full name: Kendrick Lamar Duckworth
Place of birth: Compton, California.
Date of birth: on June 17, 1987.
After writing stories as a child, this popular songwriter put to music some lyrics about the rough Compton streets that he grew up on. He rapped with his stage name as K-Dot, releasing a series of super increasingly viral mix tapes, which brought him to the attention of the famous hip-hop super-producer Dr. Dre.
Lamar’s debut major-label recording, good kid, m.A.A.d City, was released to great acclaim and impressive sales for just an up-and-coming recording artist.
He however continued to receive accolades for his 2015 album, To Pimp a Butterfly, and his cool 2017 follow-up, DAMN.; both won the Grammys for Best Rap Album, while DAMN. also made history as the very first of its genre to earn a Pulitzer Prize.
Background and Early Life
Popular rapper and songwriter Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (dropped his last name to perform as Kendrick Lamar) was born in Compton, California, on June 17, 1987. His parents moved to Compton from Chicago in order to escape the city’s dangerous gang culture, although Lamar’s father has associated himself with the notorious Gangster Disciples gang.
Just as the 1980s crack trade and West Coast gang presence increased, Lamar grew up around precarious street activities, but the songwriter seemed more influenced than harmed by it. He was a good student with love for writing, first stories and poems, and then lyrics.
Lamar’s family was directly touched by the violence of the streets, yet he remained thoughtful and soft-spoken, ever the keen observer, even just as a child.
He has adopted the moniker K-Dot and began to perform his lyrics as a rapper. At 16, in 2003, he circulated a mix tape known as Youngest Head Nigga in Charge, which drew lots of attention and public interest in his native Southern California and beyond.
The project was however, enough to get Lamar a record deal with Top Dawg Entertainment, a well respected California independent label and feeder to major labels. He went on to release two other acclaimed mix tapes, Training Day (2005) and C4 (2009), steadily working with other up-and-coming West Coast rappers like Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q. Lamar and these other performers eventually formed their own rap collective, Black Hippy.
Meeting Dr. Dre
In 2010 Lamar dropped the K-Dot tag and started using his own real name. He also released his fourth mix tape, Overly Dedicated. That same year, Lamar also released his first full-length independent album which was under Top Dawg Entertainment. It was titled Section.80, and it was released exclusively on iTunes.
Lamar continued his great career which was writing music and lyrics, and he also continued to tour and collaborate with top recording artists such as Young Jeezy, The Game, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne.
Dr. Dre, who happens to be one of hip-hop’s most respected and influential producers, took the young artist under his very own wings, becoming his mentor in both music and business.
As the buzz on the popular rapper, Lamar continued to build, Dr. Dre signed him to his independent record label which was Aftermath Entertainment, alongside more established top rap stars Eminem and 50 Cent (in a joint venture with Top Dawg). Aftermath was however, distributed by major label Interscope (Universal Music), which would have the marketing, sales and distribution muscle to take Lamar’s career to the next level.
Now the innocent, quiet, observant kid who made good grades in school was poised to become rap’s newest superstar and lover of many.
‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’
In October 2012, Lamar’s highly anticipated major-label debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was however, released to wide acclaim.
(Lady Gaga has recorded a song with Lamar for the album, but it ultimately was not included due to “creative differences.”) Hit singles like “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice,” and the rapper’s emergence as a talent to watch, definitely cleared the way for him to make major American television appearances while promoting the album, including Saturday Night Live, Late Night With David Letterman and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
This therefore, solidified his fan base, not only among hard-core hip-hop heads, but also among the college students and the fans of alternative rock.
The Revival of Hip-Hop
Kendrick Lamar’s appeal to the masses didn’t end there. The thought-provoking lyrics found on his debut album caught the attention of hip-hop critics as well, and with MTV naming him the “Hottest MC” of 2012—putting him in the company of other rappers who have earned good titles, including Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Additionally, critics took note of Lamar’s verse on the song “Control,” by phamous rapper Big Sean. Although the track was written by another artist, Lamar’s verse drew special attention because of his challenge to several other popular names in the hip-hop world, including Drake, J. Cole and Big Sean himself.
The bold claims in the controversial verse rapped by popular Lamar brought about a vibe that was reminiscent of the classic hip-hop era, drawing appreciation from critics, rappers and fans alike.
Lamar has however, remained popular for his sharp observations of street culture, often examining the psychology of the victims of crimes. “That’s the most interesting story to me,” he made this known to the British newspaper, The Guardian. “At first, I was scared to show fear because you can never be sure how people will perceive you. But I dared myself to do that, to stand out.”
‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ and ‘DAMN.’
In 2015, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth released his next album named; To Pimp a Butterfly, featuring artists like Bilal, Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams, among others. Butterfly was however, another highly acclaimed outing known for its funk-laden mix of bravura, community politics and vulnerability.
Kendrick Lamar was also nominated for a whopping 11 Grammys later that year and definitly won the first award of the 2016 show, specifically for Best Rap Album. (He’d already received four other Grammys pre-telecast, making him the biggest winner of the night.)
He later brought the house down with a politicized performance of “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” that fused spoken word, live jazz, traditional African dance and a reference to the death of teen Trayvon MartinIn March 2016, Lamar also released untitled unmastered, a compilation of tracks that were unfinished demos for To Pimp a Butterfly. The release went to the top of the U.S. Billboard 200.
The artist and songwriter continued to win a lit of lot fans with the April 2017 release of DAMN., which featured such tracks as “Humble” and “Loyalty,” a collaboration with Rihanna. Along with achieving double-platinum status, DAMN. was named by BBC news as the critics’ favorite album of 2017, based on the compilation of the year-end poll.
Being nominated for seven Grammys award, Lamar kicked off the 2018 awards show with a politically charged performance that also featured Dave Chappelle and Bono and the Edge of U2. He also went on to sweep the rap categories, claiming Best Rap Album for the hit song DAMN. and Best Rap Song for another hit song of his, “Humble,” en route to an impressive five Grammy wins for the night.
Pulitzer Prize Winner
Lamar has made history on April 2018 when he won a Pulitzer Prize for his music DAMN., making him not just the first person to win a Pulitzer for a hip-hop album, but also the very first artist to win the prize for music that isn’t classical or jazz. The Pulitzer board named the album “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.”
Alongside the hardware, Lamar stood to benefit from the expiration of his publishing deal with popular Warner/Chappell Music. Lamar’s management company, being Top Dawg Entertainment, was said to be considering offers between $20 million and $40 million for the rapper and songwriter’s catalog.
Underscoring his fast expanding influence, Lamar in June 2018 was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ music branch, for his work on the Black Panther and Divergent soundtracks. The following month, he made his acting debut in 50 Cent’s crime drama Power, as a homeless man.
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