Kendrick Lamar was a street-savvy loner with a stutter and an affinity for poetry. Now he’s a Pulitzer Prize wielding rap icon using his art to erect change. This is his evolution.
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth grew up fighting to beat the odds. Hailing from Compton, California, he grew up around gang culture and says he witnessed two murders by the time he was eight. In an attempt to iron out his stutter, his seventh grade English teacher introduced him to poetry, and he became captivated by the art form.
He began writing freestyles and released his first mixtape in 2003. He was recruited to Top Dog Entertainment and became part of the supergroup Black Hippy. He later released “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City” in 2011, and it eventually hit platinum in 2013.
From there he kept making hits. His 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly” debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 Chart. His track “Alright” quickly became the anthem of the growing Black Lives Matter movement.
He then released “Untitled Unmastered,” which is a compilation of tracks that weren’t featured on “To Pimp a Butterfly.” His album “Damn” not only earned him the Grammy for best rap album, but also the Pulitzer Prize for music.