The Lamar Legacy: Winner Takes All

Rap mogul and award-winning creative Kendrick Lamar has not only surpassed the expectations of many but, after 10+ years in the game, scored the Pulitzer Prize. His 2017 album DAMN, “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life,” is the first genre of its kind to be honored in the prestigious foundation established in 1917.

True K. Dot fans have closely watched the evolution of his abilities as a lyricist and a songwriter, served as inspiration for his work, and also used Lamar’s music to cope with the harsh realities of a “post-racial America.” Similar to many other artists with an extensive amount of clout and talent in the entertainment industry, King Kendrick has been unanimously chosen as the voice of the youth. How exactly is it that fans from all across the globe feel so connected to his messages?

First and foremost, Lamar is a storyteller; from his delivery to his punch lines and subject matter, he engages his listeners by speaking his truth. He is not the type to shy away from the controversial and feels no fear in addressing real issues that plague society. His curiosity in the studio has become music that we listen to on the plane, in the car, and at the gym. Though his beats are captivating and syncopated, loud and rowdy, his art channels knowledge and the craftsmanship of the legends before him.

Of all his projects, he considers his most recent work as his best one yet. In his interview with Rick Rubin, Lamar describes his songwriting process as a series of premeditated thoughts, because his material stems from his everyday experiences and the emotions those experiences trigger. He conceptualizes his career as a space to avoid complacency by stepping out of his comfort zone, so he competes with himself to always create something better than his previous work. He attributes his gradual improvement artistically to the 25/8 he spends in the studio and the heart and soul he puts into his work. During the production of DAMN, he and his team would bring sleeping bags and stay the night in the studio between sessions.

Much of his inspiration comes from rap game ringleaders such as D. Dre and Snoop Dogg. He admires Jay-Z and Eminem for their drive, passion and the hunger in their eyes to be the best of best. During a lightning round interview with Power106 Los Angeles and The Cruz Show, Lamar confessed that his storyline, sonics, and visuals all must align and often come to him while he is still in the writing process.

He achieves his connection with his fans through the raw emotions stirred by his cadence, dramatic tune changes, and soul and R&B influences. He states that the title of every track is a single word that captures the exact vibe of the song. Bangers like “DNA” shout unapologetically black sentiments. The title itself has many meanings but more importantly challenges his listeners’ thinking capacity and their perspective through his infectious energy.

Kung Fu Kenny has made history with his win because his work has been recognized in a space where genres of this sort are regarded as less than. As much as Kendrick Lamar is a creator, he is a student. His approach to his craft is very calculated, and he is 100% hands-on in production from start to finish. Aside from his obvious talent, numbers don’t lie—DAMN sales have increased by 236% since his Pulitzer win. Not to mention the artist was green-lighted to masterfully create the Black Panther soundtrack, another important contribution to African American pop culture. Let us hope that this amazing accomplishment and historic moment continues tenfold and becomes more than just a shocking achievement but a catalyst for the continued recognition of Black art across all mediums.