N.W.A put Compton on the Hip-Hop map in the late 1980s with their brazen attitude and uncompromising description of the city. The approach worked so well that the "gangsta rap" trail that they blazed would not only define Compton, but the entire West Coast for decades that followed.
Now, however, Compton Hip-Hop has turned a corner with Kendrick Lamar. His brand new release, good kid, m.A.A.d city, has been hailed by many in the genre as an instant classic. With a gift for lyricism, a unique flow, and a knack for conceptualizing content, Lamar is a voice from Compton unlike anything heard before. And, with influences ranging from jazz to DMX, he and his Black Hippy movement are just as much 3 Feet High and Rising as 100 Miles and Running.
Behold, Kendrick Lamar - the voice of the next generation that many will undoubtedly follow.
Here are 10 things we now know about K. Dot:
1. The album cover features Kendrick Lamar (as a young child), his two uncles, and his grandfather.
2. Kendrick cites the whole West Coast as his influence, but still says he went back and studied Jay-Z when he started writing. He openly admitted that he was latecomer to Jay-Z’s fan base.
3. In his free time, Kendrick enjoys watching the classic '90s TV comedy, "Martin". Him and his Black Hippy crew also enjoys pulling pranks on one another.
4. Kendrick’s inspiration for good kid, m.A.A.d city was shining a different light on Compton, California. Compton has such a negative stigma, Kendrick says he's determined to help change that.
5. His upcoming project is a collaboration album with J. Cole. Lamar noted that he and Cole were recently in the studio. And, after good kid, m.A.A.d city takes off, the two of them plan on going back in and working on the LP.
6. When Kendrick was getting started, he had 14 people in a 12-passenger van, and followed Game’s tour bus for two months. They went from Los Angeles to Rhode Island.
7. The explanation for "m.A.A.d." is subtly explained on a track on the album. Kendrick wouldn't say which one.
8. When he was 13, Kendrick Lamar was rapping about murder and selling drugs.
9. One thing that Kendrick didn't get to include on the album was a certain piece where a sample couldn't get cleared. Kendrick wouldn't give away any more information than that.
10. If Kendrick could get anyone to join the Black Hippies now, it would be Danny Brown.
Moral of the story? Kendrick's new album just solidified his place atop the world of Hip-Hop. We're keeping a close watch on him!