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Kendrick Lamar is an America-based musician who has
found a name in the music and entertainment industry. He is an award-winning
songwriter and rapper. He was born on June 17, 1987 in Compton, California.

Lamar was named after musician Kendrick, one factor that is said to have
motivated him to venture into music,   His parents had moved to Compton from Chicago
when he realized Chicago gang culture was a bad influence to his life. It was
alleged that he had been part of the notorious Gangster Disciplines, which was
associated with myriads of illegal activities. As a child, he grew up in
problems, and at times he would stay out in the streets where he gained
experience in life of hardship. Lamar attended Centennial High School.

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According to the academic reports, he was an excellent student who scored high
grades. It was during his school days that he would write music and keep them
for future before venturing into full time music as a career.

At the age of 8, he watched a video by Dr. Dre which
inspired him to be a musician. Lamar rapped under the stage name K-Dot. He
wrote several children stories, which he later converted into music and
performed on stage. One of the major driving factors that motivated his music
was the rough life on the streets, where life was relatively hard for the
street children. His family was directly affected by the life experience in the
streets, violence, and robbery, lack of basic needs and even false accusation
and stigmatization that are prevalent in the street life. Despite the fact that
he lived around the precarious street life, he picked the experiences to define
his path in life by using the opportunity to use his talent in music to highlight
some of the hardships that the street children underwent. In the essence, the
street life experience never did him hard, but taught him to look at life from
a different perspective; he lived a reality rather than being absorbed by the
hostile life in the streets.

As s student, Lamar enjoyed writing stories about
life, poems and lyrics, which he would later translate into songs and rap to
his friends before he could record and release them to the public. In 2003, he
composed and circulated his mix tape called The
Youngest Head Nigga in Charge. This mix tape was an instant hit as many
people liked it in California and beyond. This also landed him a record deal
with Top Dawg Entertainment. He recorded two more mix tapes; Training Day in 2005 and C4 in 2009. Using the earnings from
these mix tapes, he formed his rap collective, the Black Hippy.

It was until 2010 that he dropped his stage name K-Dot
and started using his official name. He continued releasing the mix tapes,
which helped in making him more popular, considering that he was just entering
the music industry as an upcoming rapper. After releasing series of mix tapes,
Dr. Dre noticed his talent and helped him record some of the songs that he had
initially written. In 2010, Lamar released his first full-length debut when he
was still with the Top Dawg Entertainment; Section
80, which was released on iTunes. His interest in writing and composing
music grew stronger and he collaborated with other artiste who had already
penetrated the music industry. For instance, he collaborated with artistes such
as Young Jeezy, Talib Kweli, and Lil Wayne among other famous musicians in the
US. After Dr. Dre noticed his talent and took him under his wing, Dr, Dre used
that opportunity to mentor him by giving guidance and direction on how to go
about music as a career in the music industry. After years of guidance and
motivation, Dr. Dre signed Lamar to his record label, “Aftermath Entertainment”
where he would work with popular rappers such as Eminem, and 50 Cent. Joining “Aftermath
Entertainment” was a big step in his music career as it provided the platform
under which to promote his music and help in moving his music career to the
next level. It is important to note that Eminem and 50 Cent had made a name in
the music industry beyond the US and their genre was selling globally. As such,
joining them through “Aftermath Entertainment”, he become popular under their
popularity in the music industry.

 His major
debut that brought him to the limelight was the recording Good kid, m.A.A.d. City. The debut marked his start in the music
industry with high sales, considering that he was an upcoming musician in the
music industry. Also, his award-winning To
Pimp a Butterfly became an instant hit, which made him famous when he won
the Grammy award of 2015.  His first
gateway to the American television included songs such as “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic
Justice,” Most American hip-hop lovers had started to notice his talent and the
difference in his performance, and would request for his appearance on
television talks shows to discuss his music and the journey to where he had
reached in his career in music.

Even after taking his career to the next level, appearing in TV shows,
releasing songs and even making powerful collaborations, Lamar’s ambition to
become an international icon in the music industry grew stronger. He remain
relevant in his music for his keen observation of the street culture in his
music and often using his music to pass a message to the masses regarding the
kind of life and psychological torture the street children undergo. In the
essence, his rap had a message that caught the attention of the hip-hop music
lovers.

In 2015, Lamar released one of the most popular albums under his name; To Pimp Butterfly, where he featured artistes
such as Bilal, and Pharrell William. To
Pimp Butterfly was well received because of the unique mix of bravura,
which the contents that relates to politics and vulnerability. The theme in
this song was tailored to highlight what happens in society with regards to
politics and the fact that some members of society find it relatively hard to
live, given the social evils meted against them. Based on the relevance of the
themes in his songs, he was nominated for 11 Grammies and won his first Grammy
award in 2016; the Best Rap Album Category. Lamar is a great opportunist and he
used Grammy award ceremony to promote one of the most relevant themed
performances, “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright”. The
performance was received positively as it conveyed a political message to the
fans, highlighting the role of politics in shaping the lives of the American
society. It was one of the most politicized performances, fused with African
dance and reference to social problems such as death.

The primary factor that drives his music and
distinguishes his music from other hip-hop musicians is the genre and the
content of his music. Lamar has a mixture of spatiality and social issue, all
embedded in his music, giving his genre a unique characteristic that puts his
music part from the rest of the musicians. While he has not come out clearly to
defend his belief in Christianity, the moral themes in his songs point to a
person with reverence to God and has given his life in using his talent to
bring about change in the manner in which society treated the less fortune in
society. However, it is interesting to note that Lamar believes in the
existence and power of God, but not religion. When he was asked about his stand
on religion, his response pointed out that he had a strong belief in the
existence of God, and that God was important in his life and that is the reason
some of his songs are religious in nature, his reply was,

“I
wouldn’t say I’m the most religious person, neither were both of my parents. I
always do quote-unquote religious songs or whatever you want to call them from
the standpoint where I’m trying to find answers. . . . I’m a sinner and I’m
trying to figure myself out.” This is a critical response with regards to
understanding Lamar’s religious beliefs and practices. In his response, he
admits that he is a sinner and he is trying to figure out his life. This means
that he acknowledges the weaknesses of man and the need to attempt to live a
righteous life, one of the major characteristics of religious societies. He
admits that man should mend the relationship between his and God to live
achieve their goals in life.

Based on his beliefs about religion, Lamar openly disregards the
significance of religion in one’s life. In fact he says,

“Believe in God, it’s only one God.

Fuck all that religion shit. Believe in one God, and do right. Try your best to
do right, we ain’t perfect. Just do that and everything will be straight.” Here,
he cites the need to focus on the significance of God in one’s life and the
need to be monotheist. He says people should focus on one God and try to do
right to please God. However, religion, according to Lamar is insignificant. A
close analysis of the themes of his songs gives an impression that Lamar is a
Christian with little faith in the religion but s strong commitment on the
existence of one God.

In his song, good kid, m A.A.d
City, Lamar performance is a reflection of his street life and the role God
played in his life while in the streets. Although it may not be easy to notice
the theme of the song, it is clear that he intended to show the elements of God
in his song. For instance, he start the song while driving through s street,
where he meets more sinners than saints, more darkness than light and series of
events that illustrate the spiritual life of the people. As the song later
revealed, Kendrick was baptized and started a new life. In fact, he raps on the
song and declares that he believes in God’s ability to save but not the
religion of Christianity.  He sings, “Faith,” “I
opened my Bible in search to be a better Christian. And this from a person
that never believed in religion. But shit, my life is so fucked up, man; I
can’t help but give in.” here, he admitted that religion was not
helping at all as most of the people he came across were short of his
description of righteous people. However, he reiterates in the lyrics that God’s
presence in his life was relatively important. His song continues to show how
hard it is to keep faith despite the fact that everyone prays to remain
faithful in their own given the temptations that human beings undergo.

 

Lamar has a unique music composition that is driven by factors that have
direct influence in the lives of people in society. As noted above, he was a
keen observer of what took place on the streets and used them events observed
to create themes that would be significant in his lyrics. Most of his lyrics
were directed to correcting a society issue he had witnessed in society. For
instance, the composition of the song, “The Blacker the Berry” was
instigated by the fact that politics was the fundamental issue that affected
the lives of the American society. In fact, he believed that good politics
would bring about change in society and there would be less street urchins,
whom he attributed to bad governance.

In addition, the song, good kid, m
A.A.d City highlighted the social evils and the hypocritical nature of
people. As he performs the song, the viewers can notice that he picks on the
sinners and the street life to give the accounts of what needs to be done. In
the essence, the songs are tailored to teach society about faith and politics, which
are the key factors that influence people’s behaviors.  He observed the political events in the
country and related them to the lives of the people in society, and used
metaphorical statements to refer to the realities in life. More often than not,
it required a deeper analysis of his songs to note the themes that intended to
pas to the viewers.

 

Lamar in the song, good kid, m
A.A.d City attempts to show how young children sought salvation through the
teachings of the faithful. He sees society from a critical angle where the
people with knowledge and information about faith and God do not want to give
the right information to the kids. In addition, in the song, To Pimp a Butterfly
he tries to argue with both God
and the devil. He argues that God has the power to change people’s life, but
wonders how the devil comes in different colors and shapes to fight the good
seed God has planted on people. In the essence, his composition of music is
driven by life’s realities and the experiences he had gone through as child,
growing up in the streets.

A critical look at his music and the journey
to his music career, it is clear that Lamar is spiritual and believes in a just
society. However, he disputes the common notion that all people that confess
the existence of God are religious and completely disregards religion as the
foundation of faith. In some of his songs, he directly makes references to
Bible verses. For instance, on Lust, he quotes the verse James 4:4, which shows
that he acknowledges the significance of the teachings of the Bible and the
contributions of such teachings to righteousness.

In conclusion, Lamar is a modern musician that
has made a name in the music industry. He was born in California to poor
parents who had always been associated with Gang groups. However, he changed
the perception that the history determines the future and become one of the
best advocates of the oppressed in society through music. His music career is
driven by realities in life, the hardships and the faith in God. As a musician,
his role in society cannot be underestimated as he enjoys a huge following in
the US and beyond. 

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