By Navindra Persaud
With CCSU’s spring concert approaching it has been announced that one of the two performers will be Kendrick Lamar. Lamar is one of the hottest hip-hop artists in the industry at the moment and has created a long list of references in the music industry, earning the respect of many along the way.
Lamar was born and raised in Compton, one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S., known for its gang-related violent atmosphere. At the age of 25, he has exploded onto the hip-hop scene, climbing his way to the top of the industry in just two years. In 2010 Lamar released a powerful mix-tape titled, Overly Dedicated. His first album, released in 2011 and titled Section. 80, was a refreshing mix of smooth, soulful beats paired with deep, heavier beats that would make any trunk rattle.
But it’s not the beats that make this artist; his ability to formulate stories ranges from the struggle of a young girl raised into a dark world in “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain),” to the questionable demeanor he possesses in “Hiiipower.” Lamar’s music always seems to question aspects of his life and challenges the vices that influence human beings.
In late Oct of 2012 he released his second album from record label Top Dawg Entertainment (T.D.E.) titled, Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. The album, which peaked at number 35 on Billboard’s Top 100 Albums chart, explored life in Compton even deeper and featured collaborations with Drake and Dr. Dre. The album also contained a series of skits, funny at times and at other times illustrated the dangers he witnessed growing up.
In 2012, Complex Magazine ranked Lamar number three among their “25 Best Rappers 25 and Under” list and has been featured in a number of New York Times articles, most recently in the article “Hip-Hop Speaks to the Guns,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates praised Lamar for his true and eye-opening representation of the “senseless” gun violence that plagues cities all over the U.S.
His hit single, “Swimming Pools (Drank),” which peaked at number 17 on Billboard’s top 100 charts, is sure to be a crowd pleaser on college campuses due to its catchy beat and hook. But the true meaning of the song is overlooked all too frequently, because Lamar uses his lyrics in a satirical representation of alcohol abuse and how badly the vice affects the judgment of those who abuse it.
Lamar has appeared in features for a long list of artists, such as Drake, The Game, E-40, A$AP Rocky, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Mac Miller and many more. His ability to poetically transform music has been compared to Tupac Shakur. The use of similes and metaphors are uncanny next to many of today’s artists who rely on catchy beats to help them sell records.
CCSU can expect a great performance from Lamar as he takes his audience through his story and his struggles growing up. Along with the amazing sound of his music, students can also expect a great lyrical experience from one of the most acclaimed rappers today.