Black Music Month: Kendrick Lamar

June is Black Music Month and WERS at Night will recognize black musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters who have made enormous contributions to the music industry. Today, June 25th, 889@Night is highlighting Kendrick Lamar.

Every once in a while, if you look up in the sky at night, there is that one star that always shines brighter than the rest. In the rap game right now, this star is Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick Lamar is from Compton, California. Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and The Game are some other rappers from that area just to give you an idea of the talent in the area. I guess it’s only right that he is currently signed by Aftermath which is the label Dr. Dre helped create.

In the early mid-2000s, Kendrick Lamar started rapping and using the moniker K-Dot when he was sixteen. He dropped three mixtapes under the name K-Dot and these helped him gain a devoted fan base. He eventually abandoned the name K-Dot and just went by his real name, Kendrick Lamar. In 2009, he really began building a name for himself nationally when he released his EP called The Kendrick Lamar EP. This was the first project that I heard from him that made me become a fan. After the success of The Kendrick Lamar EP, he capitalized on this by releasing a string of freestyles over popular industry beats and arguably making them better than the original. Kendrick has a unique style over any other rapper that is making music right now. He combines storytelling, flow, cadence, and confidence into every verse.

In 2010, Kendrick released a project called Overly Dedicated. On this project Kendrick had a song called “Ignorance is Bliss” in which he tells the tale of young people in the ghetto who are living their lives based solely on the things they see in the ghetto. This is rumored to be the song that caught the ear of legendary rapper and producer Dr. Dre. The two have been working together since then on many songs for Dr. Dre’s Detox album – which is the most highly sought after album of my generation. In 2011, Kendrick Lamar appeared on the cover of XXL with nine other artists as a hip-hop freshman who was supposed to have a big year in music. Later on that year, Kendrick released his street album Section.80 on Independent label Top Dawg Entertainment. When this album dropped, it sounded different from anything else I have ever heard. The combination of unique melodies and subject matter is what made this tape stand out. The songs were so different but yet the music blended together really well. It is arguably the best album of 2011. He didn’t have many features except for his Top Dawg Entertainment label-mates. This helped people really get to know who he is and the message he was trying to send.

Recently Kendrick released a single with Dr. Dre called “The Recipe”. This song has been received really well from everybody that has listened to it and is proving to be a perfect summer anthem. They shot a video and it should be released soon. I chose to honor Kendrick Lamar for Black Music Month because he is a rising star in the rap game and gets respect from everybody. He is bringing a fresh new and unique to sound. Hopefully it inspires more artists to be more experimental and stray away from the mainstream sound. His debut major label album Good Kid in a Mad City is set to release October 2nd, 2012. Join us in celebrating Kendrick Lamar by tuning into 889@Night tonight at 11:30pm EST to hear more about him and to hear some of his music.

By Malcolm J. Gray

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