top of page

Kendrick Lamar: Generational Brilliance

A MUMFF TV Black Music Month Special Series

Kendrick Lamar is undeniably one of the greatest artists in modern music due to his unparalleled talent and significant impact on the industry. His lyrical prowess and storytelling ability have elevated the art of hip-hop, pushing boundaries and inspiring a generation.

Lamar fearlessly addresses social issues, systemic injustices, and personal struggles, making his music not only entertaining but thought-provoking and socially relevant. His albums, like "good kid, m.A.A.d city" and "To Pimp a Butterfly," are critically acclaimed and showcase his exceptional versatility in terms of musical style and production.

Lamar's ability to merge conscious lyrics with innovative beats and melodies has garnered him widespread acclaim and numerous accolades. Beyond his musical achievements, Lamar's authenticity, humility, and willingness to use his platform for social change make him a true icon of modern music.

One critic recently said "the things that makes Kendrick Lamar so unique and his projects so powerful is his specific reinterpretation and re-appropriation of critical Black intellect.

In addition to being a good storyteller, Kendrick is understated. He's the rap equivalent of a lean startup; focused, versatile and free from the "overhead" that burdens many of his peers - inflated ego, messy label situation, PR nightmares, etc.

His delivery is tight, his story is accessible. On top of that, he has also funded organizations that combat cancer, at-risk youth, AIDS and human trafficking.

He is often considered one of the most influential hip hop artists of his generation. Born and raised in Compton, California, Lamar began his career as a teenager performing under the stage name K.Dot.

He quickly garnered local attention which led to him signing a recording contract with Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) in 2005.

He has been named by numerous media outlets as one of the most influential artists of the 2010s, with Billboard listing him as one of the greatest rappers of all time. He has been credited by NPR Music with the revival of jazz rap, which waned after the 1990s. Writing for Esquire UK, editor Olivia Ovended opined, "Even if you're not overly familiar with Lamar's back catalog, his influence in music is everywhere, from the West Coast hip-hop now being made by Anderson Paak to the trap music of Gucci Mane.

He is—and we'll brook no argument here—the greatest rapper making music today."The New Yorker journalist Carrie Battan considered him "California's biggest hip-hop artist since the nineteen-nineties." Lamar has been branded as the "New King of Hip Hop" numerous times by media outlets. Steve Batlin of Forbes writes that although he "may or may not be the greatest rapper alive right now," he's "certainly in the very short lists of artists in the conversation."

Throughout his career, Lamar has won 17 Grammy Awards (including three for Best Rap Album and six for Best Rap Performance—the most won by an artist), an Emmy Award,four American Music Awards, 25 BET Hip Hop Awards (the most won by an artist), 11 MTV Video Music Awards (including two Video of the Year wins), 6 Billboard Music Awards, and a Brit Award. As a songwriter, he has received nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, Lamar received the most Grammy nominations by a rapper in one night, with 11. At the 65th ceremony, he became the first artist from any genre to be nominated for Album of the Year with four consecutive lead studio albums since Billy Joel (1979-1983).

Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, To Pimp a Butterfly, and Damn were featured in Rolling Stone's industry-voted ranking of the 500 greatest albums of all time, as well as their ranking for the 200 greatest hip hop albums of all time.Good Kid, M.A.A.D City was additionally featured in the magazine's list of the 100 best debut albums of all time, and was named the greatest concept album of all time.To Pimp a Butterfly was ranked by several publications as one of the greatest albums of the 2010s decade. Damn won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2018, marking the first musical composition outside of the classical and jazz genres to receive the honor. Lamar's Big Steppers Tour (2022–2023) is the highest-grossing rap tour of all time.

Lamar has appeared in various power listings. Time included him on its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016. He has appeared on Forbes' Celebrity 100 ranking (2019), and its 30 Under 30 list twice in the music category (2014 and 2018). Lamar was included twice in Billboard's lists of the greatest rappers of all time (2015 and 2023).Complex named him the best rapper alive twice (2013 and 2017), and included him in their list of the 20 best rappers in their 20s thrice (2013, 2015, and 2016).

On May 11, 2015, Lamar was honored with the California State Senate's Generational Icon Award by state senator Isadore Hall III for his contributions to music and his community. He was later honored as the Grand Marshal of the 63rd annual Compton Christmas Parade. On February 13, 2016, he was presented with the key to the city of Compton by mayor Aja Brown for "representing Compton's evolution" and "embodying the new vision for Compton." Brown also added that Lamar serves as a "catalyst to raise a new level of consciousness for this generation. His message challenges the status quo and motivates listeners to rethink our society's institutions."

Kendrick Lamar is undeniably one of the greatest artists in modern music due to his unparalleled talent and significant impact on the industry. His ability to evolve, grow and boldly take on new and dynamic challenges continue to help define the current era of music and that of its future.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page