Kendrick Lamar has suffered through gang violence as a child and watched people get murdered but he’s not a quitter.
Like most rappers’, his music speaks to his life experience. According to Rolling Stone, his first album was:
“Vivid autobiography, a virtuosity deconstruction of gangsta rap centered around tales of a childhood in Compton, where many of his friends were gang-bangers and police harassment was a constant threat”.
His first album Good Kid, m.A.A.d city, added his own unique sound to usual songs about life in the inner cities.
According to Rolling Stone, his second album Pimp a Butterfly was a “dense, cerebral, jazzy, dazzling meditation on race in America that spawned one of the decade’s most important songs, the Black Lives Matter anthem ‘Alright’ “.
Lamar has been on the forefront of new activist culture.
His third and latest album DAMN. according to Rolling Stones “switched lanes, managing to make an LP that’s just as smart and conceptual, but tighter, hookier and more accessible”. When asked by Rolling Stones:
Q: When did you truly find your own style?
A: I think it was the day I said I was gonna go by my real name, Kendrick Lamar.
Q: Instead of K-Dot?
A: Yeah. And really just tell my story. Once I did that, it was easier for me to find my own voice, because nobody can tell my story the way I tell it.
On his hit single Lamar had this to say:
How did “HUMBLE.” start?
It was the beat first, actually. [Producer] Mike Will sent the beat over. All I could think of was [Marley Marl’s] “The Symphony” and the earliest moments of hip-hop, where it’s complex simplicity, but it’s also somebody making moves. That beat feels like my generation, right now. The first thing that came to my head was, “Be humble.”
Only time will tell if his music is powerful enough to keep him the forefront of American’s eyesight.