My Favorite Rap Artists, Vol. 8 | Kendrick Lamar

You hate me don't you?
You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture,
You're fuckin' evil; I want you to recognize that I'm a proud monkey.
You vandalize my perception but can't take style from me.
- (Blacker The Berry, 2015)

He's something like a renaissance man.

He challenged everyone of his fellow peers back in 2013, and so far it's only one MC on par with him and that's J. Cole. Following the release of good kid, m.A.A.d city he was a marked man making plenty of assertions in the face of what he felt was wrong with Rap at the time. He faced a lot of backlash and criticisms from a lot of rappers and certain parts of the media. When in truth, he dropped those names daring them to step up, he set off a chain of events that made Rap a better place overall. 

Thanks to him Cole dropped 2014 Forest Hills Drive, K.R.I.T. dropped Cadillactica, Sean dropped Dark Sky Paradise, Wale dropped The Album About Nothing, Tyler put out Cherry Bomb and Rocky put out At. Long. Last. A$AP; all great albums. MC's to be omitted right now for are Pusha, Jay Electron & Mac who haven't put anything out yet. Drake dropped If You're Reading This It's Too Late, which was one of the best mixtapes of the year, but still doesn't count because it's not his actual album Views From The 6. Meek Mill is the only artist many feel didn't really take that next step with his album Dreams Worth More Than Money, but his album still managed to reach number one in the country.

So out of the seven rappers to actually release an album this year, six of those rappers actually made advancements in their sound and content. A lot of them have stepped it up by speaking on social issues, lead by Cole, Kendrick and K.R.I.T., whom the ladder has always spoke on the topic at hand.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's influence at it's best.

He dared his peers to step it up and they did in kind, all while he stepped his own game up to the highest level possible in the midst of a changing climate. He seemingly made the transition by not being flashy and always on social media, he took it back to the old school and just made music that mattered. That's one of the reasons I decided to add him to my list because he's just making great music and not making excuses. He's slowly but surely becoming an activist and a leader in the community by also showing support for various victims of shootings and being present in the hood where most of the problems seem to occur.

To me that's what you want in a musician, athlete or anyone who's black and in a position to say something about what's going on in the community, and he's doing the best that you can do. At first people who are just dumb and didn't see what he was trying to accomplished assumed he was just some MC that was going to come out and just diss other MC's all day and everyday, how wrong were they. Granted his content isn't unchanged from his earlier stuff, (see Ronald Reagan Era from Section.80), you know it takes time for other people to catch up to all things great.

At the end of the day Kendrick has too many features, songs and albums that can be pointed out about his greatness and his effort to be the best MC alive while supporting his people. He gets all the respect from me in the world and the head nod to make an entry on this list, knocking out another artist. If you haven't heard or even tried to listen to Kendrick, you are doing yourself a disservice by not having him in your rotation. The Compton MC has the blessings of many West Coast legends and seemingly have won over those he offended with his 2013 comments by simply making good music and being consistent. 

Kudos to you Mr. Lamar, you are one of the best MC's in the game today, let's see what you do with it.

2005 | Training Day
2009 | C4
2011 | Section.80

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