Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is often cited as one of the most influential rappers of his generation. Aside from his solo career, he is also a member of the hip hop supergroup Black Hippy alongside his Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) labelmates Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and Schoolboy Q.
Raised in Compton, California, Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the stage name K.Dot, releasing a mixtape titled Y.H.N.I.C. (Hub City Threat Minor of the Year) that garnered local attention and led to his signing with indie record label TDE. He began to gain recognition in 2010 after his first retail release, Overly Dedicated. The following year, he independently released his first studio album, Section.80, which included his debut single "HiiiPoWeR". By that time, he had amassed a large online following and collaborated with several prominent rappers. He subsequently secured a record deal with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, under the aegis of Interscope Records.
Lamar's major-label debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, was released in 2012, garnering him widespread critical recognition and mainstream success. His third album To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), which incorporated elements of funk, soul, jazz, and spoken word, predominantly centred around the Black-American experience. It became his first number one album on the US Billboard 200 and was an enormous critical success. His fourth album, Damn (2017), saw continued acclaim, becoming the first non-classical and non-jazz album to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music. It also produced his first number one single, "Humble", on the US Billboard Hot 100. Lamar curated the soundtrack to the superhero film Black Panther (2018) and in 2022, released his fifth and last album with TDE, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.
Lamar has certified sales of over 70 million records in the US alone, and all of his albums have been certified platinum or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). He has received several accolades in his career, including 14 Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, six Billboard Music Awards, 11 MTV Video Music Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Brit Award, and an Academy Award nomination. In 2012, MTV named him the Hottest MC in the Game on their annual list. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016. In 2015, he received the California State Senate's Generational Icon Award. Three of his studio albums were listed in Rolling Stone's 2020 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.