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Kendrick Lamar            

Grammy & Pulitzer Award-Winning Hip-Hop Recording Artist & Rapper

Platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar is one of the rare artists who has achieved critical and commercial success while earning the respect and support of those who inspired him.

A native of Compton, California, Lamar originally rapped as K. Dot and released a series of mixtapes under that name. At 16 years old, Lamar caught the attention of Top Dawg Entertainment and led to a long-term association that helped raise the rapper's profile. "Training Day" and "C4" also preceded his decision to go by his birth name. The latter was issued the same year he became part of Black Hippy -- besides fellow Top Dawg artists Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and ScHoolboy Q -- a group whose members, for the most part, appeared on one another's mixtapes and albums. "Overly Dedicated" was the first Kendrick Lamar mixtape and fared well enough to enter Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart that October. His first official album, "Section.80," was released as a digital download the following year and entered the Billboard 200 at number 113.

By that point in his career, Lamar's reputation had been strengthened through guest appearances on dozens of tracks, and he had the support of veteran West Coast stars as well. During a 2011 concert, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and The Game dubbed him "The New King of the West Coast," a notion Dre endorsed more significantly by signing Lamar to the Aftermath label. Lamar's "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" was released in October 2012 and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. Three of its singles -- "Swimming Pools (Drank)," "Poetic Justice," and "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" -- reached the Top Ten of Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart, with each one enjoying lengthy stays on playlists of urban U.S. radio stations. More significantly, the album showcased Lamar as an exceptional storyteller capable of making compelling concept albums. When the nominees for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards were announced, Lamar was listed in seven categories, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year. Unfortunately, he won none of the awards.

Rather than rest, Lamar remained active during 2013 and 2014, with touring as well as appearances on tracks by the likes of Tame Impala, YG, and fellow Top Dawg affiliate SZA. Early in 2015, he announced that his third album, "To Pimp a Butterfly," was due in March with tracks featuring Snoop Dogg, Bilal, Thundercat, and George Clinton. A technical accident caused the digital album to be released eight days early, but it immediately earned rave reviews and topped the Billboard 200 with sales of 325,000 copies within its first week. It made numerous best-of lists at the end of the year and earned five Grammy Awards in early 2016. In March, Lamar released "untitled unmastered.," an eight-track album consisting of demos he'd recorded around the time of "To Pimp a Butterfly."

His fourth studio album, "DAMN.," was released on April 14, 2017, to rave reviews, with a Rolling Stone writer describing it as a combination of "the old school and the next-level." It marked his third number-one album on the Billboard 200 chart, and the single "Humble" became his first number-one as a lead artist on the Billboard Hot 100. "DAMN." features guest appearances by artists ranging from Rihanna to U2. That album became the first non-classical and non-jazz album to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

His work extends beyond music production, including curating and executive producing the soundtrack album for the film "Black Panther." Lamar's concert tours, the Damn Tour and the Big Steppers Tour, are among the highest-grossing rap tours in history. He co-founded the creative company PGLang and ventured into filmmaking, demonstrating his versatility and commitment to creating striking visual presentations. Despite his fame, Lamar remains deeply grounded in his roots. Growing up in Section 8 housing, reliant on welfare and food stamps, and even experiencing homelessness, these experiences have shaped his narrative and given depth and authenticity to his work.

As an advocate for racial equality and mental health awareness, Lamar uses his platform to address societal issues. His prowess as a public speaker is evident in his ability to discuss these topics eloquently and passionately, whether it's through his music or in interviews. His first-grade teacher encouraged him to become a writer after hearing him correctly use the word "audacity," a testament to his early talent for communication. Since then, Lamar has proven time and time again that he has the audacity to challenge the status quo, inspire his listeners, and use his words to make a real impact in the world.


Kendrick Lamar's New Chapter With Dave Free - The New York Times
Dec 27, 2022 ... Kendrick Lamar sits at a black upright piano, remaining in shadow, till a single soft spotlight reveals him fingering chords, with a suited-and-booted ...
'Power': Kendrick Lamar To Guest Star On Starz Series | Deadline
Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar is set to guest star in this week's episode of Power, Starz announced Wednesday.
Kendrick Lamar to Be Keynote Speaker at Forbes Under 30 Summit ...
Kendrick Lamar will sit down for a keynote interview with Forbes' senior culture editor for the Forbes Under 30 Summit.

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