Is there anyone who might have predicted the artistic evolution Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, when he first began making an impression upon the game? A deftly-tongued lyricist, capable keeping pace with the homies by night and penning thoughtful reflecting on society by day. From lusting after music’s baddest on “Black Lipped Bastard Remix” to imbuing Drake‘s Take Care with his scene-stealing presence. From waxing poetic alongside Gunplay on “Cartoons And Cereal” to crafting an elaborate and non-linear conceptual masterpiece in Good Kid Maad City. From earning the coveted Dr. Dre co-sign and celebrating the simple pleasures “women, weed, and weather” to playing an integral role on Dre’s third studio album Compton, like Snoop once did on The Chronic.
Santiago Bluguermann/Getty s
To Pimp A Butterfly proved that Kendrick’s musicality was second to none, bringing forth a variety styles in one thematically cohesive package; how does free-form jazz co-exist so effectively alongside the slick g-funk “King Kunta?” Under Kendrick’s watchful eye, it simply does. From the aqueous flowing “You Ain’t Gotta Lie” to the underrated bar-fest “Hood Politics,” To Pimp A Butterfly stands as Kenny’s creative opus; challenging on damn-near every level and aging like the finest wine. Even Untitled Unmastered revealed an additional layer to his visionary status, proving him capable making hard-cuts in favor telling a story in its purest form.
From putting the game on watch with his monumental “Control” verse to crafting another chapter his top-five discography in DAMN, the scope Kendrick’s pen remains unbound by limitation. Which other albums can pair instantly accessible bangers like “Humble” and “DNA” with genuinely emotional ballads like “Love” and “Pride?” Whether he’s steering the ship alongside Black Hippy on the eerie banger “Vice City” or making history as the first rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize, Kendrick Lamar has established himself as one the greatest writers our time. In honor Kenny’s enduring, and still-ongoing legacy, take a moment to celebrate his thirty-second birthday. Enjoy the day, Kendrick!