Legal name: Kendrick Lamar Duckworth
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American hip hop recording artist from Compton, California. Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the moniker K-Dot, released a mixtape which garnered local attention and led to his signing with Carson-based independent 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 Section.80, his first independent album, exclusively through iTunes. The album included Lamar's debut single, "HiiiPoWeR". By that time, Lamar had amassed a large internet following and had already worked with several prominent artists in the hip hop industry, including The Game, Snoop Dogg, and Busta Rhymes.
Lamar secured a recording contract with Aftermath and Interscope Records in 2012. His major-label debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was released in October 2012 to universal acclaim. The record contained the top 40 singles "Swimming Pools (Drank)", "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe", and "Poetic Justice". Upon its release, the album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In early 2013, MTV named Lamar the No. 1 "Hottest MC in the Game" on their annual list.
In 2015, Lamar released his third studio album To Pimp a Butterfly, incorporating elements of funk, spoken word poetry and jazz in the hip hop record – it debuted atop the charts in the U.S. and the UK. The album was preceded by its lead single "i", which earned him his first two Grammy Awards at the 2015 ceremony: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. Later that year, Taylor Swift and Lamar's collaboration "Bad Blood" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Apart from his solo career, Lamar is also known as a member of the West Coast hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, alongside his TDE labelmates and fellow South Los Angeles-based rappers Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q.