Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987), better known as Kendrick Lamar, is an American hip hop recording artist from Compton, California. In 2004, Lamar signed to Carson-based independent record label, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). Lamar secured a recording contract with a major-label in 2012, when TDE signed a joint-venture deal with Aftermath and Interscope Records.
Lamar began to gain major recognition in 2010, after the release of Overly Dedicated, his first retail release. The following year he released his first independent album, titled Section.80, exclusively through iTunes. The album received critical acclaim and instantly ranked as one of the top digital hip hop releases of the year. Early in his career, prior to releasing his major-label debut, Lamar amassed a large Internet following and had already worked with several prominent artists in the music industry, such as Dr. Dre, Game, Drake, Young Jeezy, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes, E-40, Warren G and Lil Wayne, among others.
Lamar's major-label debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was released in October 2012, to widespread acclaim. The album contained the Top 40 hits "Swimming Pools (Drank)", "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe", and "Poetic Justice". Upon its release, the album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart and was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album also received widespread critical acclaim and in early 2013, MTV crowned Lamar the No. 1 "Hottest MC in the Game" on their annual list. Lamar also received a total of seven Grammy nominations at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards (2014), including Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Best Rap Song. A year later, at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards (2015), Kendrick Lamar won Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for his song "I". Lamar released To Pimp a Butterfly in March 2015 to universal acclaim.
Apart from his solo career, Lamar is also known as a member of Black Hippy, a supergroup of West Coast hip hop artists, alongside his TDE label-mates and fellow South Los Angeles-based rappers Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul.