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Kendrick Lamar is without a doubt one of the biggest hip hop stars today. Growing up in Compton, even he could not have imagined the impact he would go on to make in the music industry. Lamar has been a breath of fresh air that has pushed the boundaries of hip hop music and set multiple records in the process.
The journey began with his first album “Section.80” and Lamar used that album to talk about the struggles that a lot of people of his generation face growing up in tough neighborhoods. He wanted the world to see and understand the issues but more importantly, it was his chance to have a conversation with his generation.
Kendrick Lamar has not looked back since his debut in 2011. He has been on several tours and thousands of fans have bought Kendrick Lamar tickets to see him live.
He is just hitting his stride and this can only be great news for his fans and hip hop.
Early Life and Influences
Kendrick Lamar was only eight years old when he saw Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur work on the music video of the track “California Love.” That was the start of his love affair with rap music.
Born on June 17, 1987, in Compton, California, Lamar grew up listening to hip hop. However, there are five that he says influenced him the most. This is what he had to say when he turned up at Power 106 LA’s “The Cruz Show” as a guest:
“Yeah, I got a Top 5…I gotta write…this in any order, too. Give me [JAY-Z]. Give me Em. Give me Pac. Give me B.I.G. and give me Snoop. These are the cats that inspire me like the most in music, the most for sure. And if you break down how I approach lyrics, you can hear the influence of each and every one of these dudes.”
At sixteen, Lamar released “Youngest Head Nigga in Charge (Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year).” The mix tape introduced the budding Compton artist on the local circuit. It also brought his way a record deal. That was followed by “Training Day,” another mix tape released in 2005.
Lamar kept on performing for the majority of the next two years. He then appeared on All My Life (In the Ghetto), a single by Jay Rock’s music video that also featured Lil Wayne. He was co signed by Lil Wayne shortly afterwards and Lamar came out with his third mix tape “C4” in 2009. Lamar had been performing as K-Dot till then and he decided to drop the name and take up his birth name. It was a decision that has paid off.
Breakthrough and Recognition
After coming to terms with how music industry worked, Lamar released his first album, titled “Section.80” in 2011. The record was met with critical acclaim. AllMusic gave it three and a half stars while Pitchfork gave it eight out of ten. Section.80 was also certified gold by the RIAA. Being an independent release makes its success all the more impressive. Even though the album had lukewarm sales, it received critical acclaim.
Kendrick Lamar released his second album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” on October 22, 2012. This release marked his major label debut and it turned out to be a massive hit. The album went to the second spot on the Billboard 200 on debut. It has been certified platinum in the US as well. Lamar received five Grammy nominations for Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and also won BET Hip Hop Award for the “Album of the Year.”
Lamar spent the next three years or so touring and collaborating with various artists like Kanye West and Eminem among others. His star was rising and GQ named him the “Rapper of the Year.”
Lamar then released “To Pimp a Butterfly,” his next album on March 15, 2015. It went one better on its release than its predecessor to debut on the first spot on the Billboard 200. Pitchfork and Rolling Stone also called it the best album of 2015. The album also won multiple Grammy Awards to cement Lamar’s status as one of the biggest hip hop stars on the circuit.
Lamar’s most recent album is titled Damn and it was released on April 14, 2017. It went to the number one spot on Billboard 200 on debut but more importantly, it was certified two times platinum just two months later.
Kendrick Lamar has in total won seven Grammy Awards, five BET Awards, fourteen BET Hip Hop Awards and seven MTV Video Music Awards. To say that he has the potential to reach the top would be an understatement. Lamar is a special talent and he is showing that with every album and performance of his.
Kendrick Lamar has just finished “The Damn Tour.” It kicked off on July 12, 2017, and ended on September 2, 2017. He performed to packed houses all through the trek as hip hop fans bought Kendrick Lamar concert tickets in big numbers to see him hit the stage, live.
That however does not mean that he has stopped performing. His epic performance at the Day N Night Fest on September 10, 2017, where he brought the house down, is a case in point. Lamar has got a lot to do this year, so stay tuned.