Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar2

Birth name

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth

Also known as



June 17, 1987 (1987-06-17) (age 32)
Compton, California, U.S.


Hip hop



Years active



Konkrete Jungle Muzik (2004)
Top Dawg Entertainment (2004-present)
Aftermath Entertainment (2012-present)
Interscope Records (2012-present)

Associated acts

Black Hippy, J. Cole, Dr. Dre, Terrace Martin

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper from Compton, California. In 2004, Lamar signed to the Carson-based independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment and in 2012, Lamar and the label signed a joint venture deal with Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records. Lamar is also a member of West Coast hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, alongside his labelmates and fellow California-based rappers ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and Ab-Soul.

Lamar first began to gain major attention in 2010 after the release of his fourth mixtape, Overly Dedicated. The following year he released his first independent album, Section.80, exclusively through iTunes. The album received critical acclaim and was instantly ranked as one of the top digital hip hop releases of the year. Early in his career, before releasing his major-label debut, Lamar had achieved a large internet following and had already worked with several prominent artists, including The Game, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes.

His major-label debut studio album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was released on 22 October 2012 to universal acclaim. The album spawned the top 40 singles "Swimming Pools (Drank)", "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe", and "Poetic Justice" featuring Drake. Upon its release, the album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 and was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Lamar released his album To Pimp a Butterfly in March 2015 to universal acclaim, which praised its blending of hip hop, funk, spoken word poetry, and jazz. The album was preceded by the lead single "i", which earned him his first two Grammy Awards: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 2015 ceremony. Later that year, Lamar and Taylor Swift's collaboration "Bad Blood" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Lamar's fourth studio album, DAMN., was released in 2017. In 2018, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, becoming the only non-jazz or classical music album to win the award.

Early lifeEdit

Duckworth was born in Compton, California to parents from Chicago, Illinois. His birth name was given to him by his mother in honor of singer Eddie Kendricks. In 1995, at the age of eight, Lamar witnessed his idols Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre film the music video for their hit single "California Love", which would later prove to be a very significant moment in his life. As a teenager, Lamar attended Centennial High School in Compton, where he was a straight-A student.

Musical lifeEdit

2004-2009: Career beginningsEdit

In 2004, at the age of 16, Lamar released his first full-length project, a mixtape titled Youngest Head Nigga in Charge (Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year), under the pseudonym K-Dot. The mixtape garnered enough local attention for Lamar to be signed to the Top Dawg Entertainment, a newly founded local independent record label based in Carson, California. He began recording material with the label and subsequently released a twenty-six track mixtape two years later, titled Training Day. Throughout 2006 and 2007, Lamar, alongside other up-and-coming West Coast rappers, such as Jay Rock and Ya Boy, toured and opened for veteran West Coast rapper The Game. Using the stage name K-Dot, Lamar was also featured on The Game's songs "The Cypha" and "Cali Niggaz".

In 2008, Lamar was prominently featured in the music video for Jay Rock's commercial debut single, "All My Life (In the Ghetto)", which features American hip hop superstar Lil Wayne. After receiving a co-sign from Lil Wayne, Lamar released his third mixtape in 2009, titled C4, which was heavily themed around Wayne's album Tha Carter III. Soon after, Lamar decided to drop K-Dot as his stage name and began using his birth name instead. He subsequently released a self-titled EP in late 2009. In 2009, Lamar formed the Black Hippy supergroup with Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q.

2010-2011: Overly Dedicated and Section.80Edit

Throughout 2010, Lamar toured with Tech N9ne and Jay Rock on The Independent Grind tour. On 14 September 2010, Lamar released Overly Dedicated to digital retailers under Top Dawg Entertainment and released it for free online a week later. The project fared well enough to enter the United States Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, where it peaked at #72.

The highly acclaimed mixtape featured the song "Ignorance Is Bliss", in which Lamar glorifies gangsta rap and street crime, but ends each verse with "ignorance is bliss". It was this song specifically that made legendary hip hop producer Dr. Dre want to work with Lamar after seeing the music video on YouTube. This led to Lamar working with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on Dre's now-canceled Detox, as well as speculation of Lamar, signed to Dre's record label Aftermath Entertainment.

In January 2011, Lamar stated that his next project was 90% finished. In early 2011, Lamar was included in XXL magazine's annual Top 10 Freshman Class and was featured on the cover alongside fellow up-and-coming rappers CyHi the Prince, Meek Mill, Mac Miller, Yelawolf and Big K.R.I.T., among others. On 11 April 2011, Lamar announced the title of his next full-length project to be Section.80, and the following day the first single "HiiiPoWeR" was released. The song was produced by J. Cole, marking the first of several collaborations between the two.


Studio albumsEdit

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