Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987), known as Kendrick Lamar, is an American rapper from Compton, California. Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the moniker K-Dot, releasing a mixtape that garnered local attention and led to his signing with Carson-based indie record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). Lamar began to gain major recognition in 2010, after his first retail release, Overly Dedicated. The following year, he released the independent album Section.80, which included Lamar's debut single, "HiiiPoWeR". By that time, he had collaborated with several prominent artists in the hip hop industry, including The Game, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne.
Lamar secured a major-label record deal with Aftermath and Interscope Records, in 2012. His major-label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was released in October 2012 to critical success. The record contained the Top 40 singles "Swimming Pools (Drank)", "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe", and "Poetic Justice". It debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Preceded by the Grammy Award-winning single "i", Lamar released his third studio album To Pimp a Butterfly, in 2015 to universal acclaim. The album drew on free jazz, funk, soul, and spoken word, and debuted atop the charts in the U.S. and the UK. In 2016, Lamar released untitled unmastered., a collection of unreleased demos that originated during the recording sessions for Butterfly.
His fourth album, DAMN. (2017), saw continued acclaim, becoming the first non-classical and non-jazz album to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music. It also yielded his first number-one single, "HUMBLE.", on the US Billboard Hot 100. Lamar curated the soundtrack to the superhero film Black Panther (2018) and in 2022, released his fifth and last album with TDE, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.
Lamar has received wide acclaim and a number of accolades over the course of his career, including 14 Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and an Academy Award nomination.