Kendrick Lamar’s sophomore album was met with critical acclaim citing its chilling storytelling glamping into life as a kid growing up in Compton while not being weighed down by the heaviness of its story. The album helped launch him to the mainstream with catchy songs like “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Backstreet Freestyle.”
Kendrick Lamar’s trajectory throughout the 2010s is one of the most fascinating of his generation. Being part of the XXL freshman class in 2011, Kendrick was little known outside the west coast. Separating himself from his contemporaries, Kendrick used jazz-esque arrangements and political lyrics that weren’t as cool at the time. His major-label debut was with “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” which was a bit more of an introspective, dark party album but was still rife with funky mixes and political messaging. It wasn’t until “To Pimp a Butterfly” in 2015 that Kendrick would fully come into his own. Leaning heavily into his unique qualities, he would realize the potential of jazz-rap with the help of funk master Thundercat and others. He also wielded bars like molotovs setting the world ablaze in the name of black nationalism. Kendrick stayed true to his vision, never compromising his art or principles and became the greatest of a generation.