Born on June 17, 1987 in Compton, California, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth enjoyed writing stories and poems as a student, and as time went by he began writing lyrics inspired by the street life in his native where he grew up. When he was 16 years old, he began rapping and shopping around a mixtape dubbed "Youngest Head Nigga in Charge" under the moniker of K-Dot. It drew the interest of many people and earned him his first record deal with Top Dawg Entertainment, under which he released two other acclaimed mixtapes, "Training Day" (2005) and "C4" (2009). Upon meeting fellow rappers Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q, Lamar began performing with them under the name of Black Hippy.
By the time Lamar released his fourth mixtape "Overly Dedicated", he dropped the K-Dot moniker and began using the shorten version of his name, Kendrick Lamar. In the same year, he exclusively released his first solo album "Section.80" on iTunes under Top Dawg Entertainment. The record paved Lamar's path to collaborate with already famous names, like Young Jeezy, The Game, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne. He then caught the attention of Dr. Dre who subsequently took him under his wings and willingly became his music and business mentor.
Signed to Dre's record label Aftermath, Lamar released his debut album "good kid, m.A.A.d city" in October 2012 and spawned hit singles "Swimming Pools (Drank)", "Poetic Justice" and "B***h, Don't Kill My Vibe". In addition to receiving rave reviews, the set debuted on the Billboard 200 before being certified platinum by the RIAA. That was the beginning of Lamar's journey to prominence as he then continued making promotional appearances on "Saturday Night Live", "Late Night with David Letterman" as well as "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon". By this time on, Lamar already cemented his name in the world of hip-hop music as a new superstar and solidified himself among famous rappers like Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West as the 2012 "Hottest MC".
In September 2013, Kanye announced that he would be headlining his first solo tour in five years to support his sixth album "Yeezus", with Lamar accompanying him on tour. The tour began in October, and in the same month Lamar revealed that he would be featured on Eminem's eighth studio album "The Marshall Mathers LP 2". On October 15, 2013, Lamar won five awards at the BET Hip Hop Awards, including Album of the Year and Lyricist of the Year.
In the next year, Lamar received a total of seven Grammy nominations at the 56th Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Best Rap Song, but he walked away empty handed. However, in 2015, he won Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for his single "i" at the 57th Grammy Awards.
On March 16, 2015, Lamar released his new album "To Pimp a Butterfly" which debuted atop Billboard 200 chart, selling 324,000 copies in its first week and breaking Spotify's global first-day streaming record (9.6 million). The album features top artists such as Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams. Lamar was later featured on Rolling Stone cover, with editor Josh Eels writing that Lamar is "arguably the most talented rapper of his generation."
In May 2015, Lamar was featured on the official remix of Taylor Swift's single "Bad Blood". The track reached No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100. Lamar then won five Grammys at the 58th ceremony in the next year, including Best Rap Album for "To Pimp a Butterfly". Other nominations included Album of the Year and Song of the Year. In March 2016, Lamar released "Untitled Unmastered", a compilation of unfinished demos for "To Pimp a Butterfly". The release vaulted to the top of the Billboard 200.
In March 2017, Lamar released a promotional single "The Heart Part 4" off the upcoming album "DAMN". He then released the album's lead single titled "Humble" along with its music video on March 30. "Humble" debuted at No. 2 on Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian Hot 100. Prior to releasing the album on April 14, Lamar shared the project's cover art and tracklist.
"DAMN." received rave reviews soon after it was released, with Rolling Stone describing it as "the old school and the next-level." The 14-track effort debuted at No. 1 on Billboard 200 chart, marking his third album to debut atop the chart following "To Pimp a Butterfly" and "Untitled Unmastered".
By the end of 2017, "DAMN." sold more than 2,000,000 copies in the U.S., becoming the third highest selling album of the year. It was also certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Thanks to the success of the album, Lamar was able to receive many awards. For instance, he was dubbed one of the biggest winners at the 2018 Grammy Awards, which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 2018. Lamar brought home five awards, including Best Rap Album, Best Music Video and Best Rap/Sung Performance.
Welcoming the new year, Lamar announced his involvement in Marvel film "Black Panther", producing the soundtrack album to the superhero flick along with Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith. This marked the rapper's first time getting involved in a major motion picture.
The lead track off the album, "All the Stars" featuring SZA, was released on January 4. The music video treatment for the track made its way out on February 6. It was directed by Dave Meyers and The Little Homies.
Unfortunately for Lamar, he was accused of copyright infringement by British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor. The artist claimed that her work was used without her permission in "All the Stars" music video. However, she stated that she was willing to discuss a resolution of all her claims, consisting at a minimum of a public apology for the unauthorized use and a license fee.
The legal issue didn't stop Lamar from releasing the album, though. After unveiling the second single "King's Dead" and third single "Pray for Me", Kendrick finally released the soundtrack album on February 9. The effort is expected to debut atop Billboard 200 chart.