Is there anyone who might have predicted the artistic evolution of Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, when he first began making an impression upon the game? A deftly-tongued lyricist, capable of keeping pace with the homies by night and penning thoughtful reflecting on society by day. From lusting after music’s baddest on “Black Lipped Bastard Remix” to imbuing Drake‘s Take Care with his scene-stealing presence. From waxing poetic alongside Gunplay on “Cartoons And Cereal” to crafting an elaborate and non-linear conceptual masterpiece in Good Kid Maad City. From earning the coveted Dr. Dre co-sign and celebrating the simple pleasures of “women, weed, and weather” to playing an integral role on Dre’s third studio album Compton, like Snoop once did on The Chronic.
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To Pimp A Butterfly proved that Kendrick’s musicality was second to none, bringing forth a variety of styles in one thematically cohesive package; how does free-form jazz co-exist so effectively alongside the slick g-funk of “King Kunta?” Under Kendrick’s watchful eye, it simply does. From the aqueous flowing “You Ain’t Gotta Lie” to the underrated bar-fest “Hood Politics,” To Pimp A Butterfly stands as Kenny’s creative opus; challenging on damn-near every level and aging like the finest of wine. Even Untitled Unmastered revealed an additional layer to his visionary status, proving him capable of making hard-cuts in favor of telling a story in its purest form.
From putting the game on watch with his monumental “Control” verse to crafting another chapter of his top-five discography in DAMN, the scope of Kendrick’s pen remains unbound by limitation. Which other albums can pair instantly accessible bangers like “Humble” and “DNA” with genuinely emotional ballads like “Love” and “Pride?” Whether he’s steering the ship alongside Black Hippy on the eerie banger “Vice City” or making history as the first rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize, Kendrick Lamar has established himself as one of the greatest writers of our time. In honor of Kenny’s enduring, and still-ongoing legacy, take a moment to celebrate his thirty-second birthday. Enjoy the day, Kendrick!