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YMMV / Kendrick Lamar

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  • Award Snub: Hoo boy. Despite receiving sevennote  nominations at the 2014 Grammys, Lamar didn't win one. Worse still, four of those awards were lost to the same act—Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
    • Macklemore himself contacted Kendrick via Instagram, saying he didn't deserve the Best Rap Album award, and Kendrick should have won in his opinion.
    • Taylor Swift's 1989 beating out To Pimp a Butterfly for Album of the Year at the 2016 ceremony. At least he won Best Rap Album...
    • And again at the 2018 ceremony. Kendrick once again swept the rap categories but lost all the main awards to Bruno Mars.
    • Notably averted when DAMN. became the first non-classical or jazz album to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
  • Awesome Music: "Rigamortus", most, if not all of good kid, m.A.A.d city and To Pimp A Butterfly, his verses on Big Sean's "Control", Pusha T's "Nosetalgia" and Eminem's "Love Game".
    • DAMN. in its entirety. That is all.
  • Broken Base: Not on Kendrick himself but with the Pulitzer being given to DAMN. While some fans are happy Kendrick is the the first non-instrumentalist to win the prestigious award, some feel To Pimp a Butterfly and its political message were more worthy of the prize.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Quickly became this for hip-hop in general after albums like good kid, m.A.A.d city, To Pimp A Butterfly, and DAMN. are giving praise to both critics and audiences alike, most of whom who don't even listen to hip-hop to begin with, something that haven't been seen since Eminem at his peak.
  • Even Better Sequel: While Section.80 was released to very mild critical and commercial success, GKMC received near-universal applause and commercial fanfare. Then TPAB came to even more acclaim and success. Then DAMN. was released to even greater acclaim than that.
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  • Fandom Rivalry: With Lupe Fiasco, especially when Lupe not only threw potshots at Kendrick in his later "SLR" songs but even went as far as to whine on Twitter about how Kendrick was overrated and didn't have in-depth writing chops (although he would later on take down these tweets and apologize).
  • Heartwarming Moments: The fact that he has managed to book free screenings of Black Panther for poor black youth.
    • The fact that he doesn't hide that he absolutely loves his fans. He is often said to be one of the absolute sweetest rappers anyone could ever meet.
    • In-verse: "Real" features Kendrick contemplating his life choices after the events of "Sing About Me, Dying of Thirst", all while interlaced with the voicemails of his mother and father (who've appeared as comedic relief throughout the album) comforting him about the death of his friend. His mother in particular encourages him to follow up a call to Top Dawg Entertainment and "give back to the kids" and "to his town" as a way to encourage those same kids to not fall into the darker side of their city, being Compton.
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    • The ending of "Mortal Man" off of To Pimp a Butterfly. Hearing Kendrick talk to Pac can be seen as Kendrick talking to someone he admires despite Pac being dead for two decades.
    • Kendrick arguably embodies this, being a Humble Hero to those in Compton due to his genuine lax nature on being a big time rapper but never forgetting where he came from and doing all he can to keep remembering his roots and gratefulness of what got him here.
  • He Really Can Act: Kendrick had his acting debut on an episode of Power and, though it was just a bit part as a rambling drug addict, he played it quite well, making him a One-Scene Wonder for the episode.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When HUMBLE. first dropped, there was a question as to whether or not the song's beat was inspired by the Suicide Squad soundtrack hit "Purple Lamborghini" by Skrillex featuring Rick Ross, which the answer to was suggested to be no. Eventually we got a remix of the song featuring Skrillex.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many songs have gotten a boost in their streams and radio play simply because Kendrick had a verse on the track.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The chorus of "Backseat Freestyle", in spades.
    • The album cover of DAMN., to the point where people began to parody it due to the simplicity of it all.
      • "ELEMENT.", one of DAMN.'s songs, has the highly exploitable chorus of "If I gotta slap a pussy-ass nigga, I'ma make it look sexy", prompting everybody to snowball it into "If I gotta [[X]], I'ma make it look sexy".
      • The line "Laughing to the bank like aaaa-haaaaa" from "GOD."
    • "Listen to DAMN. backwards" has become one for fans when Kendrick bluntly said that the album has to be listened to in reversed chronological order. It endured Serial Escalation when Kendrick's label released a collector's edition of DAMN. in reverse chronological order.
    • "Girl...I know ya want dis DIH!"
  • Most Wonderful Sound: YAWK YAWK YAWK YAWK! Guaranteed to make a crowd go apeshit every time. Even Taylor Swift isn't immune.
  • Misaimed Fandom: "Swimming Pools (Drank)" is not a song advocating the events that it is frequently played at. It's a stark criticism of the drinking and partying lifestyle.
    • Much of good kid, m.A.A.d city's singles, especially "Backstreet Freestyle", have very sexualized and/or arrogant lyrics that are subverted later on in the album when K.Dot faces the harsh reality of the lifestyle he leads and learns faith and family is a better focus in "Sing of Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" and "Real". Those who haven't heard the whole album are doubtlessly going to miss the point of a young and ignorant K.Dot wanting to fuck the world with an Eiffel Tower sized dick for three days without the later subversion.
  • Narm Charm: The screams from "u" really, really shouldn't work, but they become sinister and even tear jerking within the context of the album.
  • One-Scene Wonder: One Song Wonder: Jay Rock, the only member of Kendrick's Black Hippy group to show up on a main track in 'good kid, m.A.A.d city', delivers an absolutely amazing verse on "Money Trees".
    • Kendrick himself on pretty much every guest verse he did in 2013.
      • Special mention must go to his verse on Big Sean's "Control" - not only did he upstage Big Sean and Jay Electronica, his verse briefly sparked actual responses from other rappers both by names he mentioned who were going on the defensive and by ones he DIDN'T, irked that they supposedly didn't warrant mention.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Kendrick's verses on other artists' tracks tend to upstage the original artist on their own songs. Shoot, one could not be blamed if they mistook the "Bad Blood" remix for a Kendrick Lamar song with Taylor Swift singing the hook and bridge.
  • Tough Act to Follow: DAMN. compared to To Pimp a Butterfly. While it definitely is a good album, it's small compared to how amazingly loved TPAB is. Ironic considering DAMN. garnered a Pulitzer.
    • Surprisingly enough averted with To Pimp a Butterfly to good kid, m.A.A.d city, which some even consider to be in the same ranks or even better.
  • Tear Jerker: 'Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst' and the skit before it. Damn. Also, read the entry below for The Woobie.
    • Special mention to the female character who's the sister to Keisha from Section.80, who calls out Kendrick for "judging her" and proudly proclaims her life as a prostitute, before ranting how she doesn't want Kendrick's help before slowly fading away...
      • Worse with the first verse, which features the brother of Kendrick's friend who was shot and killed in "Swimming Pools (Drank)" who appreciates his love for his brother but tells him the life of Compton forever has him and pleads calmly to Kendrick to tell his story and the line "And if I die before your album drops, I hope-*GUNSHOTS*. Fuck.
    • "The Art of Peer Pressure".
    • u. "Loving you is complicated, loving you is complicated..."
      • Made even worse when you realize he's not just doing it from a perspective of a friend. His conscience is ragging on him! Plus the fact it calls back to GKMC and that he was going through depression when writing the song.
    • The ending of To Pimp a Butterfly album. "What's your perspective on that? Pac? Pac? Pac?!"
  • The Woobie: Kendrick in GKMC. He gets set up by Sherane, jumped by her cousins, and sees his friend die trying to get revenge for him over the same incident. And this was all a true story...
    • No wonder he says "Everybody gon' respect the shooter, but the one in front of the gun lives forever" in "Money Trees".
    • In-Universe, Keisha, the prostitute whose story he tells in "Keisha's Song" from Section.80.
    • Kendrick in FEAR. as he showcases all of his fears throughout his life from a child (Fear of disobeying his mother.) to teenager (Fear of dying in the streets, never being able to live life to the fullest.) to him as an adult prior to To Pimp a Butterfly. (Fear of losing all he has built up.) DAMN.


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