The oldest is 31-year-old Kendrick Lamar, who’s in the Top Five with his first album The Heart Part 4, releasing Feb. 15.
Lamar’s music is largely defined by contradictions. The “King K.R.I.T.E. ” lyric in “The Blacker the Berry ” is a thinly veiled warning of police violence: “If ya’ll wanna stay, stay.” But while the lyric isn’t as menacing as “FDT,” the song is about Kendrick embracing black struggle and the ways he’s struggled: His mother being killed, a childhood trauma, and the pain from not getting involved in his father’s gang and getting into drug and sex trafficking: He knows what it feels like to struggle.
Lamar is very active on social media and was on The Oprah Winfrey Show last month, sharing about his new album, a song called “In My World,” a live show on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and interviews with The Huffington Post and USA Today. His new album is called DAMN . You heard it here first:
Lamar, a Compton native, has been making music his entire life. As an adolescent, he was kicked out of his high school, left with a friend, and grew up on drugs in Compton. “At 17,” he says, “two friends had a gun and one of us just made a sh*t-ton of money.”
When Lamar was 16, he dropped out of high school and started selling drugs in Compton. He had an album released in 2011 and then two more in 2016. In late 2016, he signed a record deal with Def Jam Records. He started making headlines for shooting out the car window of a police officer. “He took a bullet for a motherf*cker, man,” says a friend of the shooter, who was black. “It wasn’t a gang-related incident and it wasn’t in gang territory. And to me, it was more than a sh*t-ton of money.”
On April 30, 2017, Lamar took to Live 105 with his crew to celebrate the start of production on his first album. He started with a verse from Lil Wayne and took an anti-police shot at another rapper.
Lamar then dropped a song called “In My World” that’s about being an artist and surviving a life in Compton (and New York where his mother was from). He made this tweet, along with his cover photo:
how to rap for beginners lyrics, flocabulary science, why is it hard to rap, rapping online, rap game now