ESSENCE Fest 2015 headliner, Kendrick Lamar burst onto the mainstream music scene in 2012 with his critically-acclaimed album, good kid, m.A.A.d city which quickly grabbed the attention of Hip-Hop heavyweights and music lovers alike. In an age where Hip-Hop has become inundated by and reflective of pop-culture fads, Lamar’s music has become a saving grace filled with a gritty realness and social consciousness we’ve come to not only respect but also adore. Here are 5 times King Kendrick single-handedly saved Hip-Hop’s soul.
#5: Kendrick Lamar’s amazing performance on The Colbert Report of an untitled song that he wrote the day before the show. No further explanation needed. Just watch the video.
#4: Lamar’s debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city was a breath of much needed fresh air to Hip-Hop. Beside the fact that the album plays out like cinematic art, it is such a great body of work there really is no need to skip a song. Not one. The art of storytelling lives.
#3: K-Dot calls on his peers, namely J. Cole, Drake, Meek Mill and more to step up their game and deliver quality music on Big Sean’s Control. He even calls out Sean himself. “What is competition? I’m trying to set the bar high. Who trying to jump and get it? You better off trying to skydive.”
#2: He also reminded us of the importance of self-love on i as he repeats “I love myself” throughout the chorus. Not to mention, the amazing Isley Brothers sample and cameo in the video from Ron Isley himself.
#1: His music is current enough to resonate with the masses but conscious enough to provoke thought as evidenced on his latest song, Blacker the Berry.