Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) 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 would later secure a recording contract with a major label in 2012, when he signed with Aftermath and Interscope Records. Apart from his solo career, Lamar is also known as a member of the West Coast hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, alongside his TDE labelmates and fellow South Los Angeles-based rappers Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q.
Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager, under the moniker K-Dot, releasing a mixtape which garnered him local attention. He began to gain major recognition in 2010, after his first retail release, Overly Dedicated. The following year, he released Section.80, his first independent album, exclusively through iTunes. The album spawned Lamar's debut single, "HiiiPoWeR" and was 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 had amassed a large Internet following and had already worked with several prominent artists in the hip hop industry, including The Game, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Drake, 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 acceptance. 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 U.S. Billboard 200 chart and was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 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), Lamar won Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for his single, "i". In March 2015, Lamar released his third album, To Pimp a Butterfly, which peaked at number one in various countries, including the U.S. and the UK.