If you haven’t heard of Kendrick Lamar, you will soon. His much anticipated debut album, Section 80, is set to drop on July 2.
Lamar isn’t your stereotypical rapper. After getting straight A’s in high school, he released his first mixtape at the age of 16. Despite his signature, smoky voice, Lamar abstains from weed. And, even though he’s from the crime-filled streets of Compton, the young rapper is not affiliated with any gangs.
However, Lamar’s personal life isn’t the only thing that sets him apart from other rappers. His unique style places a heavy importance on lyrics, something that many people claim has disappeared from the industry. This has led some to compare Lamar with Tupac Shakur, and others to proclaim him as the savior of the rap industry. In XXL and several other magazines, Lamar is praised for being both a poet and a rapper.
Lamar was first noticed in late 2010 by Eminem’s manager. Soon after, Dr. Dre took Lamar under his wing. Not only did Dre help to produce Section 80, but he has also generated hype for the young rapper. During an appearance on Power 106’s morning show, Dre praised Lamar, and announced that he wanted to work with him. Later, Lamar was photographed courtside at a Lakers game sitting beside Dr. Dre.
Lamar has also been noticed by other major rappers. In 2010, he was part of the ‘Independent Grind’ tour with Tech N9ne and Jay Rock. Later in the year, he collaborated with Snoop Dogg on Dr. Dre’s ‘Detox’ album. He also released a single called ‘Ronald Reagan Era’, which features RZA.
All of this hype led to Kendrick Lamar being featured on the cover of XXL as part of the magazine’s ‘Freshmen 2011’ feature. In past years, this freshmen list has predicted the rise of a number of popular artists, like B.oB., Kid Cudi, and Asher Roth.
The hype around Lamar has been building steadily throughout 2011, and on July 2, he will get the chance to prove himself to the world. If Section 80 is as revolutionary as anticipated, many industry experts are picking Lamar as this year’s best breakout artist. Whether or not Lamar will be known as the next Tupac Shakur remains to be seen. However, with the number of rap moguls hovering around Lamar, it’s clear to see that the kid has talent.