Kendrick Lamar is a highly celebrated hip-hop artist whose impact on the genre cannot be overstated. Over the course of his career, Lamar has released nine studio albums, each with its own unique sound and themes. From his socially conscious debut album, Section.80, to his latest project, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Lamar’s discography has been praised for its intricate lyricism, innovative production, and powerful messaging.
In this article, we will take a closer look at all nine of Kendrick Lamar’s albums in order, exploring the themes that run through each project, the production techniques used, and the critical and commercial success of each album. Through this analysis, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of Lamar’s artistry and how it has contributed to the evolution of hip-hop. Whether you are a long-time fan or a newcomer to Lamar’s music, this article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of his discography and its impact on the music industry.
- Kendrick Lamar has released 5 studio albums under TDE, with his latest project, Mr. Morale the Big Steppers, as his final album.
- Lamar’s albums have received critical acclaim and commercial success, with his third and fourth albums, To Pimp a Butterfly and Damn, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200.
- Lamar’s music often explores themes related to his upbringing in Compton, California, and his experiences with racism, poverty, and violence.
- Lamar’s discography has significantly impacted the evolution of hip-hop and popular music more broadly, and he is widely regarded as one of his generation’s most influential and innovative hip-hop artists.
Table of Contents
Kendrick Lamar’s Rap Career
Kendrick Lamar has established a thriving rap career, with his official discography consisting of nine albums that have garnered critical acclaim and commercial success. Throughout his music, Lamar delves into themes related to his upbringing in Compton, California, including racism, poverty, and violence. He has been praised for his complex lyricism, inventive production, and socially conscious themes.
Lamar’s impact on social justice and activism has been significant, with his music often addressing issues such as police brutality, systemic racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. He has collaborated with various artists, including Dr. Dre, Sounwave, and Cardo, and has influenced the music industry with his unique sound and style. Fans eagerly anticipate future projects from Lamar, who has cemented his legacy as one of his generation’s most influential and innovative hip-hop artists.
Kendrick Lamar Albums In Order
Kendrick Lamar EP (2009)
The self-titled EP released by Kendrick Lamar in 2009 gives a glimpse into the rapper’s early career and artistic style. The EP features a track list of seven songs, each touching on themes such as gang violence, poverty, and personal struggles. Lamar’s early influences, particularly from West Coast hip hop, are evident in his flow, delivery, and socially conscious lyrics.
Production credits for the EP include a mix of established and up-and-coming producers, such as Sounwave, Tae Beast, and Willie B. While the EP did not receive widespread critical attention upon its release, it has since been recognized as an essential milestone in Lamar’s career and the evolution of West Coast hip hop. Despite its relatively low profile, the EP set the groundwork for Lamar’s subsequent albums and collaborations. It helped establish him as one of contemporary rap music’s most innovative and socially conscious voices.
Released in 2009, C4 is a mixtape that showcases Kendrick Lamar’s early style and features production from various collaborators. The mixtape is named after Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III album, released the same year and significantly influenced Lamar’s early work. C4 features a range of production styles, from soulful samples to hard-hitting beats, and includes collaborations with artists like Jay Rock and Ab-Soul, who would later form the Black Hippy collective with Lamar.
C4 received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising Lamar’s lyricism and potential, while others criticized the mixtape’s uneven production and lack of cohesion. However, C4 is notable for its inclusion of several tracks that would later be reworked and included on Lamar’s debut album, Section.80, such as “HiiiPoWeR” and “R.O.T.C. (Interlude)”. A comparison of the tracklist between C4 and Section.80 reveals how Lamar’s early influences and production style evolved as he developed as an artist.
Overly Dedicated (2010)
‘Overly Dedicated’ is a mixtape released by Kendrick Lamar in 2010, following his debut studio album, ‘Section.80’. The mixtape features collaborations with prominent artists such as J. Cole and Schoolboy Q and showcases Lamar’s growth as an artist. The production style of the mixtape is heavily influenced by jazz and soul music, focusing on live instrumentation and complex arrangements.
Some of the most influential tracks on ‘Overly Dedicated’ include “The Heart Pt. 2”, which features a sample from jazz musician Ahmad Jamal’s “Swahililand”, and “Ignorance Is Bliss”, which explores personal themes related to Lamar’s upbringing in Compton, California. The mixtape received critical acclaim for its innovative production and socially conscious themes and helped to establish Lamar as one of the most critical voices in hip-hop. Overall, ‘Overly Dedicated’ is a testament to Lamar’s artistic vision and his ability to create music that is both thought-provoking and entertaining.
Section 80 (2011)
Section 80, Kendrick Lamar’s debut studio album, was released in 2011 and marked the beginning of his illustrious music career. The album showcases his unique storytelling ability and explores themes of race, poverty, and violence through vivid lyrics and innovative production. Kendrick’s early influences, including Tupac Shakur and Jay-Z, are evident in his music, as he uses their techniques of storytelling and introspection to create a socially conscious and thought-provoking album.
Compared to his later albums, Section 80 is less polished and more experimental, but it remains a fan favorite. The album’s impact on hip hop cannot be overstated, as it paved the way for Kendrick’s later projects and helped to redefine the genre. Kendrick’s growth as an artist is evident in the progression of his albums. Still, Section 80 remains a critical piece of his discography and a testament to his early potential as a hip-hop artist.
good kid, m.A.A.d City (2012)
Considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, good kid, m.A.A.d City showcases Kendrick Lamar’s storytelling ability and ability to create a cohesive narrative that explores his experiences growing up in Compton, California. The concept album tells the story of a young Kendrick Lamar’s life in Compton, including his experiences with gang violence, drug addiction, and poverty. Throughout the album, Lamar weaves personal anecdotes with larger social commentary, creating a powerful and nuanced portrayal of life in inner-city America.
The impact of good kid, m.A.A.d City on hip hop cannot be overstated. Upon its release, the album received universal critical acclaim, with many critics praising Lamar’s storytelling abilities and overall concept. It also succeeded commercially, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 and eventually achieving platinum certification. The album’s success helped solidify Lamar’s place as one of his generation’s most innovative and influential hip-hop artists. West Coast rap heavily influenced The album’s production, with contributions from producers such as Dr. Dre and Pharrell Williams. The album also collaborates with artists such as Drake and Jay Rock, further cementing Lamar’s position as a key figure in the hip-hop community.
To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)
To Pimp a Butterfly, released in 2015, is an album that showcases Kendrick Lamar’s ability to seamlessly blend genres and address critical social issues. The album features collaborations with jazz musicians such as saxophonist Kamasi Washington and bassist Thundercat and incorporates elements of funk, spoken word, and soul music.
With tracks such as “Alright” and “The Blacker the Berry, “Lamar explores themes of activism and social justice, addressing police brutality, institutional racism, and the struggles of the black community. The album received critical acclaim for its complex lyricism and inventive production and has been credited with pushing the boundaries of the hip-hop genre. To Pimp a Butterfly’s legacy continues, as it has been recognized as a significant album in contemporary music and as a powerful statement on social and political issues.
Untitled Unmastered (2016)
Released in 2016, Kendrick Lamar’s album Untitled Unmastered is a compilation of previously unreleased tracks that showcase his experimental approach to music production. The album features eight untitled tracks, each marked with a date ranging from 2013 to 2014, which suggests that they were recorded during the same period as Lamar’s critically acclaimed album To Pimp a Butterfly. The tracks are raw and unpolished, offering a glimpse into Lamar’s creative process and musical influences.
Lamar’s collaborators on Untitled Unmastered include producers such as Terrace Martin, Thundercat, and Adrian Younge, as well as guest vocalists like CeeLo Green and Jay Rock. The album received positive reviews from critics, who praised its innovative sound and how it complements Lamar’s previous works. The experimental nature of Untitled Unmastered makes it a unique addition to Lamar’s discography, showcasing his ability to push boundaries and take risks in his music.
DAMN. is the fourth studio album by Kendrick Lamar, released in April 2017. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified 3x Platinum. The album features collaborations with Rihanna, U2, and Zacari, among others. DAMN. It also explores political themes, including racism, police brutality, and social inequality. The album has been praised for its complex production and lyrics, which delve into Lamar’s struggles and the state of the world today.
DAMN. received critical acclaim upon its release, with many critics calling it one of the year’s best albums. The album won several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music, making Lamar the first non-classical or jazz artist to win the award. In terms of chart performance, DAMN. Spawned several hit singles, including “Humble” and “DNA,” which both reached the top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album’s legacy is evident in its impact on the evolution of hip-hop and popular music and its influence on social and political discourse. Overall, DAMN. is a testament to Lamar’s innovative and socially conscious artistry, solidifying his place as one of the most influential artists of his generation.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (2022)
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar’s fifth and final album under TDE, showcases his signature complex lyricism and inventive production while exploring personal growth and reflection themes. The album features collaborations with several prominent artists, including Lil Wayne, SZA, and Thundercat, and continues to draw on Lamar’s experiences growing up in Compton and grappling with issues of race, poverty, and violence. The album’s production style is characterized by its live instrumentation, jazz-inspired rhythms, and intricate layering, creating a rich, textured sound that underscores Lamar’s poetic and introspective lyrics.
Despite being released relatively recently, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers has already significantly impacted the charts, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and receiving critical acclaim from both fans and critics. The album’s lead single, “Family Ties,” featuring Baby Keem, has also performed well, charting in the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Overall, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers represents a fitting conclusion to Lamar’s tenure with TDE, showcasing his continued evolution as an artist and cementing his legacy as one of his generation’s most important cultural figures.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Kendrick Lamar’s net worth?
Kendrick Lamar’s net worth is estimated at $75 million. He has amassed wealth through his successful music career, album sales, touring, and investments. Lamar is also known for his philanthropy, supporting organizations such as Black Lives Matter. His financial future looks promising.
Has Kendrick Lamar ever won a Pulitzer Prize for his music?
Kendrick Lamar has won a Pulitzer Prize in the Music category for his album ‘DAMN.’ in 2018. This recognition highlights Lamar’s artistic evolution, industry recognition, and cultural influence inspired by his upbringing in Compton.
What is Kendrick Lamar’s educational background?
Kendrick Lamar attended Centennial High School in Compton, California, where he was influenced by inspirational teachers who encouraged his creativity. He later pursued a degree in music at California State University, but dropped out to focus on his artistic journey. Lamar’s education has significantly influenced his sound, as he often incorporates life lessons and experiences from his upbringing into his music. Beyond the classroom, Lamar continues to educate himself and grow as an artist through real-world experiences and collaborations with other musicians and producers.
How many siblings does Kendrick Lamar have?
Kendrick Lamar’s family background includes his parents and siblings. He grew up in Compton, California, and has two younger siblings, a brother and a sister. Lamar has spoken about his childhood memories and his close relationship with his siblings, growing up together in a challenging environment.
What is Kendrick Lamar’s favorite non-musical hobby or pastime?
It is unclear what Kendrick Lamar’s favorite non-musical hobby or pastime is, as he has not publicly shared this information. However, based on interviews and public appearances, he has mentioned his love for basketball and spending time with family and friends.
Kendrick Lamar is a highly influential hip-hop artist whose career has spanned over a decade, producing nine studio albums that have significantly impacted the evolution of hip-hop and popular music. From his debut album, Section.80, to his latest project, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Lamar’s discography has been marked by socially conscious themes, complex lyricism, and critical acclaim.
Lamar’s early work, including his EP and mixtapes, showcased his raw talent and potential, but his major label debut, Section.80, established him as a force to be reckoned with in the hip-hop industry. His subsequent albums, including the critically acclaimed To Pimp A Butterfly and DAMN., cemented his position as one of his generation’s most important and influential artists.
Throughout his career, Lamar has remained committed to addressing social and political issues in his music, from the impacts of poverty and racism to the struggles of the African American community. He has also pushed the boundaries of hip-hop production, incorporating elements of jazz, funk, and spoken word poetry into his music. With nine albums to his name and a legacy that continues to influence the genre, Kendrick Lamar is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in modern hip hop.