Kendrick Lamar vs. The People
Talk Yo Shit, Volume 1.
By: Derek Mollica | @DOWNSINCEBIRTHH
Who is Kendrick Lamar? What is Kendrick Lamar? And what capacity of his greatness has he shared with us?
As the cool vibes of Overly Dedicated set their place, it is time.
Since the night of February 15, 2016, I have been challenged by the idea that: The People, The Culture, and The Community don’t deserve the savior they have longed for.
February 15th is the day Kendrick cracked the game on its head, and swept the four Grammy categories for Hip-Hop; while simultaneously mixing in a jaw-dropping performance.
So did the Grams really give a humble gesture to Kendrick’s work and ability? Or was 2016 just a cover-up for one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the award show?
Hip-Hop and rap is all about the next jet setting, wave building movement. However, in most regards, do we really look back and appreciate what we are given, and not what we expect?
- Who is Kendrick Lamar?
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth was born in 1987, in the heart of Compton, California. He attended Centennial High School in the city of Compton. It was throughout his childhood that he began gathering an understanding for poetry – through the thoughts of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. While attending High School, he was an average student; who, like many, slipped through the Public School system virtually unnoticed.
By 2005, Lamar was recording music with Carson, California-based label, Top Dawg Entertainment, (also known as T.D.E.), under the name “K.Dot”. K.Dot released several mixtapes in his early career, such as Training Day, No Sleep Til NY (with TDE fellow rapper Jay Rock), and C4. In ‘09, the hip hop super-group Black Hippy was formed, displaying four different walks of life from Los Angeles natives. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul & ScHoolboy Q.
Next came the transformation – Lamar went from a young K.Dot, “the mean street rapper with a Compton attitude”, to a glimpse of what we know today, “Kendrick Lamar”. On the eve of the year 2010, the “Kendrick Lamar EP” dropped. An overlooked 15 songs that created one of the biggest waves of the decade.
(I shouldn’t have to get you hip on the rest.)
- What is Kendrick Lamar?
Kendrick Lamar is a Rapper-ARTIST from Compton. Not to be confused with his predecessors, or his current colleagues (or foes) – he stands in many ways above the rest. But what does he stand for? He provides a voice for the good. Lamar is venturing into the pursuit of trying to be a better person, while surrounded by much of the opposite. This is a message that the majority of us can relate to in one way or another; which further reaches new heights by turning his music into a platform for genuine righteousness.
Lamar’s latest full length album “To Pimp a Butterfly” shares no relation to any contemporary album released at the time, or maybe ever in the genre’s history. Mixing G-Funk vibes with traditional jazz, the album plays more like a statement for oppression, rather than any attempt to sell for retail purposes. The album artwork features many of Kendrick’s Compton acquaintances – eagerly looking to break down the gates of the White House; (more so of a sentiment than any reality).
The record is undeniably different from the limited pre-promotion. The album contains very subtle features, and relatively forgot about collaborators in today’s world. Kendrick embodies everything that is the mind, body, and soul of hip-hop.
What puts Kendrick above the rest? Is it the fact that he chooses to use his voice to preach and not sell? Or that he puts it all out there to show the world his journey? the journey that many others have live(d).
It is the passion that flows from the man’s being, and the undeniable focus Kendrick shows to progress not only The Music, but The Culture, and more importantly, the People.
With all this said, we still find ways to refute the K-Man’s accomplishments – whether it is breeded by envy, or resentment. What holds us back from giving Kendrick the crown? What is the demand to put artists that have no business in the conversation with Lamar? Don’t let this deter you from the artists you have grown accustomed to, but next time you listen to Kendrick – close your eyes. Listen to the words. Feel the pain. Walk the walk. And most importantly, understand the message. That is all I ask.
Kendrick is the king, the Greatest of OUR Time, and the (active) GOD MC.
But when you really get down to it,
Do we really deserve Kendrick Lamar?
Follow Derek Mollica on Twitter for more Dope opinions: @DownSinceBirthh