By: JC Rodriguez
When it comes to Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, The Game and Dr. Dre said it best, he is just “The New King of the West Coast.” While we agree, we’d take it a step further and say he is the King of every coast. There is no denying who wears the crown now, and that’s Kendrick Lamar. A talented lyricist with an undeniable sound and flow, Kendrick’s music harkens back to 90’s hip-hop artists whom he considered heroes, such as Tupac and Dr. Dre, while bringing a fresh perspective and modern vibe. Kendrick is the current King of Hip Hop and this is how he got there.
1995 Met Tupac & Dr. Dre at the filming of “Califonia Love”
2000 Began writing music
2003 Under the name K-Dot released his first mixtape, "Youngest Head Nigga in Charge"
2003 Signs a record deal with Top Dawg Entertainment
2004 Signs with Def Jam
2005 Second Mixtape, Training Day
2009 Third Mixtape, C4
2009 Kendrick Lamar drops the pseudonum KDot and releases Kendrick Lamar EP
2010 Releases mixtape Overly Dedicated, attracts Dr. Dre
2011 Releases his debut independent album, Section 80
2011 Crowned “The New King of the West Coast” by the Game, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre
2012 Signs with Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment
2012 Released first major lable debut Good Kid, m.A.A.d city. Sells 242K first week.
2012 Four Grammy nods, including Album of the Year.
2015 Received two Grammy’s for his single “i”
2015 3rd Album, To Pimp a Butterfly
2015 Alright and Black Lives Matter
2016 Won 5 grammy‘s for To Pimp a Butterfly
2017 Release of DAMN
2017 Won Favorite Hip Hop Album at AMAs
2018 Won 5 Grammy Awards for DAMN
Born June 17, 1987 in Compton, California, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth embarked on his musical career under the moniker K-Dot. The release of his first mixtape in 2003 quickly gained local attention from artists and DJ’s a like. This led to his first deal with indie record label Top Dawg Entertainment that same year. After the release of his first single, “Overly Dedicated,” the industry accolades rolled in and was soon considered the artist to watch. After a series of mixtapes with Top Dawg, he went on his own in 2011 to independently release his first studio album, “Section.80.”. This album amassed a large following and attention from hip-hop heavyweights like Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and Dr. Dre. The album was so successful, it prompted Dr. Dre to sign him to Aftermath Entertainment. The first major label debut album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” was released in 2012 under a partnership between TDE, Aftermath and Interscope Records and brought critical and commercial success. The record debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was soon after certified platinum.
It wasn’t until his third album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” however, that Kendrick began being recognized as the new king of hip-hop. The album, a masterpiece with influences from funk, soul, jazz and spoken word, launched at number one both in US and UK charts. It was ranked the best album of the year by Rolling Stone, Billboard and Pitchfork, and the single “i” won him his first Grammy Award. Needless to say, “To Pimp a Butterfly” became an instant pop culture classic. In fact, the song “Alright” became the unofficial anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement. This placed Kendrick Lamar among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2016.
His follow-up album “DAMN,” written mostly in his mother’s kitchen, garnered the same critical and commercial success as its predecessor. Released in 2017 with its first single “HUMBLE.” the album debuted at number one and by July was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Industry recognition for the album shortly followed with Album of the Year at the BET Hip Hop Awards and Favorite Album Rap/Hip Hop Album at the 2017 American Music Awards. DAMN recently won 5 Grammy Awards including best Rap song and Album.
Kendrick is known for leading with his values. He’s held his Christian faith close, since being baptised in 2013 and represents his hometown of Compton with pride and heart. In April 2015, Kendrick became engaged to his longtime girlfriend and High School sweetheart Whitney Alford. In January of 2016, Kendrick met with President Obama at the White House in promotion of Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Challenge. After the meeting Kendrick said, “We tend to forget that people who’ve attained a certain position are human.” Obama said in an interview that his favorite song in 2015 was Kendrick’s “How Much A Dollar Cost?” Despite early success, Kendrick Lamar is just getting started, and we can’t wait to see the gift he’ll gives us next.
"Since day one, since the first time I touched the pen, I wanted to be the best at what I do."