Rappers always have a gangster type image attached to them but what if I tell you that there can be a sensational hip-hop rap artist who was an A-Grade student at school, never got involved in gang wars, and is probably one of the finest songwriters and hip-hop artists of this generation. Well, we are talking about Kendrick Lamar.
Kendrick Lamar’s career has been a jet pack joy ride and in today’s Rise to Fame, we are covering his story from being a shy loner kid at school to being one of the best in the business.
Kendrick was born in California in the city of Compton on 7th of June, 1987. His parents hail from Chicago. Kendrick Lamar was named by his mother who was a fan of the legendary American singer Eddie Kendricks from The Temptations.
The rapper grew up in a section 8 housing, on welfare. His father, Kenny Duckworth was a gangster disciple and most of his friends were also influenced by the gang culture that prevailed during those times. However, Kendrick Lamar always maintained his distance from such things.
Kendrick Lamar is the cousin of professional NBA player Nick Young and rapper Baby Keem. He is a pious Christian and converted to this faith following the death of one of his friends.
Could be surprising to know for many of you but Kendrick Lamar was a brilliant child at school and never dropped out from his studies. He has attended the McNair Elementary and Vanguard Learning Center in Compton.
He attended Centennial High School when he was a teenager. In sharp contrast to rappers of today’s time, Kendrick Lamar was a ‘loner’, as his mom recalls.
Birth Of Kendrick ‘K-Dot’ Lamar
At the age of 8, Kendrick Lamar had the opportunity to see his favorite rappers Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre live. He saw them filming for their single California Love. This was a defining moment of Kendrick Lamar’s life subconsciously. He calls Tupac Shakur his biggest inspiration and favorite rapper of all time. To this day, Kendrick’s music and day-to-day lifestyle are influenced by his idol, Tupac Shakur.
Kendrick Lamar chose a pseudonym and stage name for himself. He decided to go with K-Dot as his rap name. When he turned sixteen years old, Kendrick came out with a mixtape titled Youngest Head N—-a in Charge. This magical work of electrifying beats and lyrics earned Kendrick Lamar a lot of appreciation locally in his community.
Recording label Top Dawg Entertainment signed Kendrick Lamar after seeing that his mixtape was creating a lot of buzz locally. Within two years, Kendrick dropped 26-track energy filled and jam-packed mixtape titled Training Day with his record label.
Kendrick Lamar Builds A Hip-Hop Career
The hip-hop artist grabbed the ropes of the hip-hop business. He started collaborating with fellow west coast rappers Jay Rock, Ya Boy for higher reach. K-Dot was seen in the music video of Jay Rock’s commercial debut single All My Life (In The Ghetto).
All My Life also featured the popular hip-hop rapper Lil Wayne and was produced by Warner Bros. Records. Later on, Kendrick Lamar released his 2009 mixtape C4 that took inspiration from and revolved around Wayne’s album The Carter III.
Forming Hip-Hop Supergroup – Black Hippy
In late 2009, Kendrick joined hands with a few of his close associates to establish a hip-hop supergroup named Black Hippy. Kendrick also decided to drop his stage name K-Dot during this time and pursue any further musical works under his own name.
His mixtape named Overly Dedicated had a certain verse that said ‘ignorance is bliss’. This verse became a hit with many in the rap and music circles and eventually ended up giving Kendrick Lamar the opportunity to work with his mentor Dr. Dre and phenomenal rapper Snoop Dogg on Dre’s Detox album. They labelled him the New King of Westcoast when he was performing in a concert in West Los Angeles.
Kendrick Lamar Becomes Hip-Hop Sensation
In 2011, Kendrick Lamar released his debut single named “HiiiPoWeR” in collaboration with J.Cole. In the same year, Kendrick also came out with his first ever independent album Section. 80 that featured names like Colin Munroe, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul.
He was approached by tech-giant Microsoft to develop a song for the launch of their new product and Kendrick Lamar made an original song named Cloud 10 for this partnership. Lamar went on to feature on Drake’s Grammy-winning album Take Care in a solo track video.
Kendrick, in 2012 signed a deal with the record label Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment putting an end to his run as an Independent artist. He released his commercial debut single after this deal which was named The Recipe.
Kendrick Lamar featured on the American R&B Music video show 106 & Park alongside Ace Hood. The same day Kendrick Lamar also released his original song ‘War Is My Love’.
Lamar’s major-label debut titled “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City” was released on October 22, 2012. The album debuted at number two in the US, selling 2,42,100 copies in its first week.
There is a lot more that happened in Kendrick Lamar’s career but the growth trajectory always faced towards the north. There was no one stopping him from climbing the hip-hop success ladders.
Coming to controversies of Kendrick Lamar of which all rappers have had some, in 2013 he attracted a lot of diss tracks on himself from Joe Budden, Papoose, Meek Mill, Diddy, Lupe Fiasco for saying that he is going to murder his competition. He said it in the Big Sean song Control in which he featured.
Entertainment publication Complex called Kendrick Lamar’s relationship with Grammy-winning singer and song-writer Drake ‘complicated’. Other publications labelled it a ‘cold war’ due to the ever-increasing popularity of both the artists.
Lamar had been featured on Drake’s “Buried Alive Interlude” meanwhile Drake was featured on Lamar’s single “Poetic Justice”. Drake in an interview openly declined that he had any competition with Kendrick Lamar and said that his only competition as a rapper was with Kanye West.
Kendrick Lamar is a huge fan of XXXTentacion’s music and he threatened Spotify when the streaming platform decided to pull XXXTentacion’s music in wake of their new Anti-Hate Content Policy. Kendrick Lamar termed the new policy as ‘censorship’ and planned to quit Spotify. Other rappers followed his lead and Spotify was forced to undo the ban on XXXTentacion’s songs.
After all, Kendrick Lamar was no longer a shy loner kid at school, he had become the best and one of the most influential personalities in business now.