Many people chant the cliched rhetoric that hip-hop is dead. Others just conform to the mainstream hype of today’s “dead” hip-hop. There are, however, those lyrical entities that revive this lifeless mentality of hip-hop and kill those misinterpretations.
Kendrick Lamar is “a young ni**a from Compton on the curb writing raps next to a gun shot”, as he describes himself in “Overly Dedicated”. However, this 25-year-old is far from being just your “average Joe”. Formerly known as K-Dot, this emerging rap prodigy was born and raised in the streets of the city famously known as the home to iconic artists such as Dr. Dre and Eazy-E. He was a good scholar with a hidden talent for rhyming. Lamar got his start as an an early teen, 13 to be exact, free styling in front of Black Hippy’s DudeDawg in the studio. He is now signed to Top Dawg, Aftermath and Interscope with huge plans for the future, but let’s take a step a back….
According to LA Weekly, Kendrick likes to compare himself to Tupac, one of his musical idols. Many can probably concur with this simile. Lamar’s delivery eludes a candid type of vibe. One that sounds as if his thoughts are way ahead of his flow. And for those who have heard him rap, there’s nothing slow about his vocal method. As candid as Lamar is, he definitely knows who he is and isn’t afraid to let the world know. The track is his canvass, the mic his paint brush and his lyrics the paint. The way Lamar paints a story throughout each verse is beyond organic. Whatever he spits has the potential to become a masterpiece among the great artists of our time, the vintage rap era and the future of hip-hop.
Lamar released his first mixtape at the age of 16 titled Youngest Head Ni**a In Charge under his former alias, K-Dot, which landed him a spot on Top Dawg Entertainment’s record label.
Training Day was then released in 2005 as his second mixtape under Top Dawg, and as his name continued to become relevant in the rap world, he was able to release 3 more mixtapes (his most recent being Overly Dedicated), an independent digital studio album Section.80, and a self-titled EP.
Under Top Dawg, Aftermath and Interscope Records, Lamar has definitely shaken the hip-hop foundation with his latest and most anticipated movement, “good kid, m.A.A.d city”. Fingerprinted throughout the album are impeccable producers such as Scoop DeVille, Terrance Martin and the infamous Skateboard P (Pharrell). The overall tone of this album portrays Lamar’s purpose as a rapper with quite an invigorating ambition. It allows room for self-identification from its listeners. Lamar definitely has put his heart in his rhymes and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down.
Growing up a good kid in the “maad city” certainly makes his story unique. Support good music and buy good kid, M.A.A.D. city, in stores today.
Check out the Kendrick Lamar edition of Ten W/ Def Pen, and find out more about this Compton sensation.