Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is a rapper and songwriter. Raised in Compton, California, he was mostly inspired to do hip-hop from witnessing Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre film their music video for “California Love” in 1995, when Lamar was eight years old. At 16 (in 2004), Lamar released his first mixtape under the stage name “K Dot.”
This mixtape garnered local recognition and led to a signing with Top Dawg Entertainment. In 2009, after dropping several mixtapes and collaborating with rappers like The Game and Lil Wayne, Lamar no longer used “K Dot” as a rap name and stuck with “Kendrick Lamar.”
In 2010, Lamar dropped his first retail release Overly Dedicated. In 2011, he independently released his album, Section.80. After being crowned “king of the West Coast” by Snoop Dogg, The Game, and Dr. Dre, Lamar signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment to release his major label debut Good Kid m.A.A.d. City in 2012, which debuted as #2 on US Billboard 200 and was later certified platinum. His 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly combined elements of funk, soul, and spoken word and debuted atop the charts in the US and UK. T.P.A.B. later received a Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2016. His 2017 album DAMN. received further acclaim, even a Pulitzer Prize, and the lead single “HUMBLE.” topped the US Billboard Hot 100 charts.