Born and raised in Compton, California, Kendrick Lamar is the most critically-acclaimed MC of his generation. After releasing a mixtape in 2004 under the name K-Dot, Lamar (then still a teenager) linked up with Anthony “Top Dog” Tiffith and signed to Tiffith’s fledgling label, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). A series of independent releases followed, including two more mixtapes (again as K-Dot) and a few guest verses. In 2009, he released The Kendrick Lamar EP, under his given first and middle name. Kendrick’s first commercially available mixtape, Overly Dedicated, arrived the next year, and 2011 brought his breakthrough full-length debut, Section.80, featuring the J.Cole-produced lead single, “HiiPoWeR.”
His Aftermath/Interscope debut, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, followed in 2012. It was received as one of contemporary hip hop’s first classics. His ambitious, Grammy Award-winning 2015 follow-up, To Pimp a Butterfly, incorporated old school funk, jazz, spoken word and decades of African-American music, while addressing racial inequality in America head on. A loose collection of apparent outtakes entitled untitled unmastered. arrived in 2016. His electric third major label album, DAMN., followed in 2017 and was immediately hailed as another classic.