Kendrick Lamar is arguably the most influential hip-hop artist of the past 10 years. He’s a throwback in the sense that he doesn’t utilize social media frequently, and the importance that he puts in to each project he releases.
“I just come from that era,” Lamar says, citing landmark 1990s LPs like DMX’s “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” Tupac’s “Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory” and the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Life After Death” as touchstones. “I don’t look at these albums like just music; it sounds like an actual film. To me, you need a big, grand production when you listen to these songs. You don’t necessarily just hear the music — you see it. You hear the stories; you hear the interludes; you hear the hooks and how different things intertwine.”
After the success of his mixtape Section 80, he and TDE signed a deal with Dr. Dre’s Interscope affiliate Aftermathrecords. His first release as part of that deal, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City,” went platinum and was nominated for a Grammy for album of the year.
He followed it up with “To Pimp a Butterfly”, and the “DAMN”, each album receiving major accolades in their own right with hits like “Alright” and “Humble”.
“I feel my greatest knack is for taking cohesive ideas and putting them on wax. So it starts with my thoughts.” – Kendrick Lamar for Variety
Kendrick Lamar is carrying the torch for hip-hop, finding the perfect balance between consciousness and popularity, which is equally impressive when this goes against the trend of where hip-hop is today, but also contributes to the success he has garnered in the last 8 years, and lets not forget his verse on “Control”, which put hip-hop in a frenzy for a week straight.
What is your favorite Kendrick Lamar song of all time?