+ Music/TupacShakur, Music/TheNotoriousBIG, Music/{{Eminem}}, Music/JayZ, Music/{{Nas}}, Music/{{DMX}}, [[Music/{{Outkast}} Andre 3000]]]

One of the great young talents in rap music, Kendrick Lamar (full name Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, born June 17, 1987) is a Compton-born rapper known for delivering politically charged, story driven, and often nostalgic lyrics, drawing on his experiences growing up in a bad neighborhood.

He released his first mixtape at the tender age of sixteen. Having signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, Kendrick continued to pump out acclaimed mixtapes and finally released his debut album in 2011, titled ''Section.80''. The album won him great critical acclaim and revealed to the public the great potential the young MC had, including Music/DrDre and Music/SnoopDogg, who crowned him the "New King of the West Coast" at a concert.

With this recognition, Kendrick signed to both Interscope and Aftermath and in 2012 released his second full length album, ''Music/GoodKidMAADCity'', an album all about his teenage years and experiences with drugs, alcohol and gang violence. It has been highly regarded as one of the best albums of 2012 and caused mass controversy when [[AwardSnub it lost all of its]] UsefulNotes/GrammyAward [[AwardSnub nominations]] and some of the awards went to Music/{{Macklemore}} (who even admitted that Kendrick should've won).

In August of 2013, Kendrick featured on the Music/BigSean song "Control". His verse, in which he managed to call out the entirety of the rap game's current artists while simultaneously claiming that he is the best in the game and urging the others to catch up, was widely considered to be [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome the year's best display of raw lyricism]]. Kendrick's verse is so popular, that some are [[SpotlightStealingSquad surprised to learn that there are two other artists on the song.]] That verse can be heard [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2z4YSqcmus here.]]

On March 16, 2015, Kendrick's third full length album, ''To Pimp A Butterfly'' was unexpectedly released (due to an error on Interscope Records' behalf which caused the album to be released a week earlier than scheduled) to widespread critical acclaim. Similarly to ''GKMC'', the album was infamously snubbed for an Album of the Year Grammy that went to Music/TaylorSwift, although it did win a number of other Grammys. A compilation of demos that were created during the production of ''TPAB'' was eventually released in March 2016 under the name ''untitled unmastered.''

Kendrick began hinting towards a fourth album on March 22, 2017, where he deleted all of his pictures on Instagram and uploaded a since-deleted picture with nothing but the word "IV". The following day, ''The Heart Part IV'' was released as a promotional single, signaling an upcoming return of Kendrick, supposedly taking shots at Music/BigSean and Drake, and hinting the date of his fourth album with the line "Y'all got April the 7th to get your shit together."

A week later, the album's lead single, "HUMBLE.", was released ahead of schedule due to the cover art being leaked online. On the announced date of April 7, 2017, the new album was not released but merely made available for pre-order, to the dismay of fans. On April 14, 2017, Kendrick's fourth studio album, ''DAMN.'' was released to widespread critical acclaim, beating out Drake's ''More Life'' for best selling hip-hop album of the year with 600,000 units sold.

* ''Y.H.N.I.C. (Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year)'' (mixtape; 2005)
* ''No Sleep 'Til NYC'' (mixtape; 2007)
* ''C4'' (mixtape; 2009)
* ''The Kendrick Lamar EP'' (EP; 2009)
* ''Overly Dedicated'' (mixtape; 2010)
* ''Section.80'' (2011)
* ''Music/GoodKidMAADCity'' (2012)
* ''To Pimp a Butterfly'' (2015)
* ''untitled unmastered.'' (compilation; 2016)
* ''DAMN.'' (2017)
* ''Film/{{Black Panther|2018}}: The Album'' (2018)

!!''good kid, m.A.A.d tropes'':

* AllLowercaseLetters: ''untitled unmastered.''
** ''good kid, m.A.A.d city'' also fits...sorta.
* ArcWords: Every song from "King Kunta" onwards on ''To Pimp a Butterfly'' ends with an expanding monologue that begins with "I remember you was conflicted, misusing your influence."
** "Ain't nobody prayin' for me" is a recurring phrase on ''DAMN.'', appearing in some form on "ELEMENT.", "FEEL.", the album version of "HUMBLE.", and "FEAR."
* AnachronicOrder: The narrative of ''good kid, m.A.A.d city'' jumps back and forth between Kendrick getting jumped on his way to meet Sherane, hanging out with his friends, and voicemails from his parents. The story ultimately begins at the end of the second track, when K.Dot (Kendrick's younger self) is invited to come along with some friends.
* AscendedFanboy: This is true of most rappers, but Kendrick (especially in ''good kid, m.A.A.d city'') makes this a point in interviews and in his music. He has worked with many artists who were his musical heroes growing up, including E-40 (who he references in "Money Trees"), [[Music/{{NWA}} Dr. Dre]], Music/SnoopDogg, Music/TheGame and, to crown ''good kid, m.A.A.d city'', he got Music/JayZ to feature on the remix of "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe".
* BoastfulRap: "HUMBLE.", a deliberately [[{{Irony}} irony]]-filled song over an uncharacteristic trap beat where Kendrick elevates himself while telling ''others'' to sit down and be humble. It has been analyzed by some as a quasi-[[ParodiedTrope parody]] of the trope's popularity in trap music.
* BookEnds:
** Due to ''good kid, m.A.A.d city''[='=]s AnachronicOrder, "Compton" functions both as the opening and ending credits to the narrative.
*** A variant of the Sinner's Prayer opens the album proper, and is heard [[OnceMoreWithClarity again with context]] before the penultimate song.
*** "Backseat Freestyle" begins and ends with the same break.
** The first and final line of ''DAMN.'' spoken by Kendrick is "So, I was taking a walk the other day." We hear it first in the opening track "BLOOD." and then again in "DUCKWORTH.", after the song ends with several sounds from previous songs on the album being played in reverse as if the whole album is being reversed back to the very start.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Happens three times on ''good kid'': once when he refers to producer Hit-Boy[[note]]who'd never been heard of outside the industry until he worked with Music/KanyeWest in 2011[[/note]] on "Backseat Freestyle", another when Keisha's sister refers to ''Section.80''[[note]]Kendrick's 2011 mixtape/indie album, in which can be found "Keisha's Song"[[/note]] on "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst," and lastly when Just Blaze[[note]]producer most known for his work with Music/JayZ[[/note]] inserts his name into "Compton," the one song on the album he produced.
* CallBack: The video for "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" stops mid-song at one point and Kendrick is shown being baptized in a swimming pool full of liquor. This is an obvious reference to "Swimming Pools (Drank)."
* CapsLock: Every single song title in the album ''DAMN.''
* ChooseYourOwnAdventure: When it comes to ''DAMN.'' one can play the tracklisting forwards, to show Kendrick's narrator's ascent into discovering self-love and self-worth during a life of hardship; playing it in reverse (as seen on the ''COLLECTORS EDITION'') follows the narrator's descent into fear and loathing that ultimately ends in his death as another statistic.
-->'''Kimberly Guilfoyle of FOX News:''' Oh please, ugh, I don't like it.
* ComingOfAgeStory: ''good kid, m.A.A.d city'''s plot seems to be a version of this.
* ConceptAlbum:
** ''good kid, m.A.A.d city'' is a somewhat fictionalized account of Kendrick's teenage years in Compton. After a night of robbery and drugs with friends, K.Dot (young Kendrick) heads to Sherane's house for sex. Upon arrival, two gangbangers outside her house beat K.Dot up as his gang affiliation (or lack thereof) is not welcome. K.Dot friends get word of what happen and decide to involve these two gang members in a drive-by shooting. This goes awry as [[spoiler:K.Dot's friend Dave is shot and killed in the process. K.Dot reassess his life]], allowing him to become the Kendrick Lamar we know today.
** ''To Pimp A Butterfly'' is also a concept album, following Kendrick after he becomes successful and starts dealing with depression, institutional racial inequality, and the various facets of black culture in America.
* DarkestHour: "u" is this for ''To Pimp a Butterfly'', as it's a song that deals with depression and aggressive self-hatred.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Ultimately, ''GKMC'' is one for GangstaRap and the more unhealthy aspects of today's rap. There's nothing glamorous about the thug lifestyle, instead coming off as bloody and pathetic. Partying and excessive drinking is ultimately destructive and hollow. Even sex, represented through K.Dot hooking up with Sherane, leads to an STD and some very poor choices in the name of getting laid. K.Dot eventually is set straight but at a very high price.
** ''DAMN.'' can also be a deconstruction of the modern rap and pop scene with songs like ''GOD.'' and ''DNA.'' being deconstructions of the pop-rap and trap genres respectively.
* DoingItForTheArt: [[invoked]] Explicitly spelled out in "King Kunta":
-->Something's in the water
-->And if I gotta brown-nose for some gold
-->Then I'd rather be a bum than a motherfuckin' baller
* DreamTeam: Really, Kendrick and pretty much anyone, but some noteworthy ones include
** Kendrick and Music/DrDre on "The Recipe" and "Compton"
** Kendrick and Music/JayZ on the "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" remix.
** Kendrick and Music/LadyGaga on the original version of "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe".
** Kendrick, Big K.R.I.T. and {{J Cole}} on DJ Khaled's "They Ready".
** Kendrick and {{J Cole}} in general.
** Kendrick and Pusha T on "Nosetalgia".
** Kendrick and Music/{{Eminem}} on "Love Game".
** Kendrick and Music/KanyeWest on "No More Parties In L.A.".
** Kendrick and Music/DannyBrown, Ab-Soul, ''and'' [[Music/{{OFWGKTA}} Earl Sweatshirt]] on "Really Doe".
** Kendrick and Music/TravisScott on "goosebumps".
** Kendrick and Music/{{Rihanna}} on "LOYALTY."
** Kendrick and Music/{{U2}} on "XXX."
* DualityMotif: Explored in various forms throughout ''DAMN.'', up to and including the album having an alternate storyline when played in reverse.
* ElectronicSpeechImpediment: Emulated in the chorus of "Cartoons and Cereal".
* EpicRocking:
** Several of the songs on ''good kid'', the most obvious being "Money Trees" (6:26), "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" (12:03) and "Real" (7:23).
** ''To Pimp a Butterfly'' gives us the 12:07 album closer "Mortal Man". Worth nothing, though, that both "Mortal Man" and "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" feature multiple minutes of spoken word.
** ''DAMN.'' gives us the 7-minute-long ''FEAR.'', a song about Kendrick's fears during different stages of his life. Just like ''Mortal Man'' and ''Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst'', it ends in a spoken word portion by Kendrick's cousin Carl.
* ExpectingSomeoneTaller: He's 5'5".
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Kendrick's mom tells him to stay away from Sherane.
* FakeOutFadeOut: His "Black Friday" freestyle contains one about 30 seconds before the end, as well as a fake second one at the actual end, where Kendrick starts going into another line, stops himself, and says [[{{Troll}} "No, I'm just fuckin' with ya"]].
* FreestyleVersion: He freestyled over Kanye West's "Monster" in 2010 and created a brilliant VillainSong out of it.
* FunWithAcronyms:
** A working title for ''To Pimp A Butterfly'' was ''To Pimp A Caterpillar'', because if you [[Letters2Numbers change "to" into "2"]], then [[FunWithAcronyms initialize the rest]], you get [[Music/TupacShakur 2PAC]].
** The "m.A.A.d." in ''good kid, m.A.A.d. city'' has a double meaning; it means both "my angry adolescence divided" and "my angels on angel dust".
* GangstaRap: ''good kid, m.A.A.d. city'' is Type 1 of an [[{{Deconstruction}} extremely disillusioned nature]], even compared to other albums with a similar introspective style.
* GenreThrowback: The video for "King Kunta", to classic West Coast hip-hop videos, right down to the aspect ratio.
* HowWeGotHere: "Sherane, a.k.a Master Splinter's Daughter" to the skit after "Poetic Justice" on good kid, m.A.A.d city.
* HypocriticalHumor: "HUMBLE." has a chorus that says "Bitch, be humble" while the rest of the song is a BoastfulRap.
* IfItBleedsItLeads: ''now crawl your head in that noose, you'll wind up dead on the news''
* KubrickStare: The cover art for ''DAMN.'' shows Kendrick himself doing one of these.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Sherane has one, a pitched-up vocal melody that appears in her titular song and "Poetic Justice."
* LettingTheAirOutOfTheBand: "Poetic Justice" ends like this, just before the skit where Kendrick gets jumped upon arriving to Sherane's house.
* ListingCities: In "Recipe". Rap Genius points out that all of the locations mentioned are important to the history of hip hop.
-->You might catch me in UsefulNotes/{{Atlanta}} looking like a boss\\
UsefulNotes/NewOrleans and then UsefulNotes/{{Miami}}, party in [[BigApplesauce New York]]\\
Texas I be screwed up, [[UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}} Chi-town]] I be really pimping\\
But nothing like my hometown I'm forever living
* LoveHurts: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gThiEx7NZQ Opposites Attract]]".
* ManipulativeEditing: [[spoiler:The entirety of the conversation between Kendrick and [[Music/TupacShakur 2Pac]] at the end of "Mortal Man" is this, with 2Pac's dialogue coming from [[https://youtu.be/btQTgebaxFc?t=3m33s a 1994 interview]] held on the Swedish P3 radio show, just with some editing to make it sound like he is talking with Kendrick.]]
* MindScrew: ''To Pimp A Butterfly''. It's definitely about ''something'', but nobody's quite sure what. There's a general message about black violence in there, but it doesn't seem to be the only one.
* MinimalisticCoverArt: The dark grey cover of ''untitled unmastered'' with just the title in small print in the upper left corner.
* MotorMouth: Seen in a lot of his songs, "Rigamortis" from ''Section.80'' being a good example.
** Also ''m.A.A.d city'', which is full of motor-mouthed tongue-twisters.
* OddFriendship: With Music/LadyGaga, who appeared on the original version of "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" (the final version was just Kendrick) on ''good kid''.
* OdeToIntoxication: "Swimming Pools (Drank)" deconstructs this trope; it superficially presents itself as this, but is really about the danger and downsides of alcoholism.
%%* OhCrap: "I'mma tell you where I'm from, OK? You gon' tell me where you from, OK? Or, or, where your grandma stay, where your momma stay, or where your daddy stay, OK? Matter fact, get out the van, homie. Get out the car before I snatch you out that motherfucker, homie."
* OnceMoreWithClarity: Throughout ''To Pimp a Butterfly'', Kendrick progressively recites more and more of a poem, adding lines after the end of each song. The album concludes with TheReveal that [[spoiler:the whole poem is being recited to Music/TupacShakur]].
* OneWordTitle: ''DAMN.'' and all of its tracks.
* PerfectlyCromulentWord: In the skit following "m.A.A.d city":
-->Nigga, pass Dot the bottle, damn! You ain't the one that got fucked up, what you holding it for? Niggas always acting unsensitive and shit.\\
[[LampshadeHanging Nigga, that ain't no word]].\\
[[ShutUpKirk Nigga, shut up!]]
* PowerTrio: There is one between Kendrick, and his two alter-egos;
** Kendrick himself is TheKirk, being the person who sees fit to speak his mind when he feel like he should about what is important in life.
** K-Dot, from ''good kid m.A.A.d. city'', is, [[spoiler:until "Poetic Justice"]], TheMcCoy, being the emotional, self-indulgent one of the trio who looks beyond the risks and potential harms of his lifestyle that wind up humbling him later on in the story.
** Kung Fu Kenny, from ''DAMN.'', is TheSpock, being the figure who, beyond all of his bombastic qualities, knows how to control himself and speak of the right way, no matter how forcibly he has to say it.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: "THIS. DICK. AIN'T. ''FREEEEEEEE!''"
* ProtagonistCenteredMorality: Averting this trope was the point of "The Blacker the Berry".
* RearrangeTheSong: The version of "untitled 03" that was performed on ''Series/TheColbertReport'' differs notably from the album version; the final verse is left out, and there's not as much buildup for certain parts of the song.
* TheReveal:
** On ''To Pimp a Butterfly'':
** "How Much a Dollar Cost" ends with the old man who keeps asking Kendrick for a dollar (only for Kendrick to refuse to help each time) revealing that [[spoiler:he is God, and [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Kendrick's greed has cost him his spot in heaven]]]].
** The whole album ends with Kendrick reciting a poem and getting a little bit further each time. The final track, "Mortal Man", reveals that [[spoiler:Kendrick is reciting the full poem to Music/TupacShakur.]]
* RunningGag: ''"Where my mothafuckin dominoes at?!"''
* SelfEmpowermentAnthem: "i", which is especially powerful considering its heavy contrast with [[TearJerker "u"]].
* ShoutOut: Several to establish ''good kid'''s mid-2000s setting.
** A song named "Sherane, a.k.a. [[Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles Master Splinter]]'s Daughter".
** When Kendrick meets Sherane, she's dancing to Music/{{Ciara}}.
** When Kendrick is driving to Sherane's house, he references [[Music/FiftyCent Curtis Jackson]].
** In "The Art of Peer Pressure," Kendrick and his buddies are riding round listening to Young Jeezy (who featured on Kendrick's song "Westside, Right on Time", released as a non-album single just prior to the release of ''good kid'').
** "I fucked Sherane and went to tell my bros / then [[Music/{{Usher}} Usher Raymond]] 'Let it Burn' came on."
** He shouted out Music/{{Rihanna}} and Music/NickiMinaj on the remix to [[TrueCompanions Ab-Soul]]'s "Black Lip Bastard".
** See FunWithAcronyms above.
* SurvivorGuilt: As detailed in "u", Kendrick went through a depression that was onset by personal guilt from making it out of Compton and seemingly abandoning his roots, and watching a lot of his Compton friends get killed.
-->''A friend never leave Compton for profit\\
Or leave his best friend, little brother\\
You promised you’d watch him before they shot him.''
* TakeThat:
** "King Kunta" takes shots at rappers who use ghostwriters, rappers who didn't actually earn their success and just hopped on the latest trend, and people who blindly follow the next big thing (i.e., Kendrick) just because they're popular.
** "The Heart Part 4", meanwhile, is absolutely ''loaded'' with shots at Music/{{Drake}} and Music/BigSean.
* TemptingFate: One of his friends in "Sing About Me".
-->''Just promise me you'll tell this story when you make it big\\
And if I die before your album drop I hope --'' (gunshots)
* TextlessAlbumCover: ''To Pimp a Butterfly''.
* TrailersAlwaysLie: The meaning of "Backseat Freestyle" (a super arrogant and vulgar rap by a very ignorant young K.Dot whose yet to have his eyes truly opened to the consequences of the hedonist/thug lifestyle he follows) is essentially lost outside of the rest of the album. That didn't stop it from becoming a sequel where listeners would be prone to take its lyrics on its own merit without the context of later songs like "Money Trees" and "Real."
* ThisLoserIsYou: If you still want to live the gangsta lifestyle after listening to ''GKMC'', you have some problems.
* TrueCompanions: Him and his Black Hippy clique, consisting of himself, [[TheSmartGuy Ab-Soul]], Music/JayRock and [[TheStoner Schoolboy Q]]. The four of them comprise probably the best young rap group out there right now.
* WhamLine:
** TheReveal of the identity of the old man in "How Much a Dollar Cost".
--->''[[spoiler:"You're lookin' at the Messiah, the son of Jehovah, the higher power\\
The choir that spoke the word, the Holy Spirit\\
The nerve of Nazareth, and I'll tell you just how much a dollar cost\\
The price of having a spot in Heaven, embrace your loss.\\
'''I am God'''."]]''
** At the end of "Mortal Man";
---> ''[[spoiler:[[Music/TupacShakur "The ground is gonna open up and swallow the evil."]]]]''
** In "DUCKWORTH.", after telling an extensive story between two characters (Kendrick's father and Top Dawg; [[spoiler:Top Dawg, robbing a KFC, decided not to kill Kendrick's father since he gave him free and extra food]]), Kendrick brings it all together with the final lines.
--->''Then you start remindin' them about that chicken incident\\
Whoever thought the greatest rapper would be from coincidence?\\
[[spoiler:Because if Anthony killed Ducky, Top Dawg could be servin' life\\
While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight.]]''
* WhatTheHellHero: "How Much a Dollar Cost" is essentially God sending this message to Kendrick in the midst of his fame-induced greed.
* AWildRapperAppears: He does this in the remix of Music/ImagineDragons' "Radioactive", and on the single version of Music/TaylorSwift's "Bad Blood", which few were expecting.
** Completely inverted with his song "Money Trees", in which his friend Anna Wise sings the bridge, which makes it A Wild Singer Appears.