The King's Reign: Kendrick Lamar
By Katherine Stallard
Kendrick Lamar. It’s not often that someone can be in the music business as long as Kendrick has and still continue to dominate and command the level of attention he does. Praised as a musical genius, Kendrick’s implementation of charged and passionate lyrics alongside overall brilliantly influenced tracks has carried him to astronomical levels of success. The man behind the music is equally as impressive, surmounting incredible events in his past like his difficult childhood and the witnessing of a murder at age five and implementing that into his packed and vibrant music.
I’ll be the first to say that, in my quest to musical enlightenment, there was a large period of time where I would have dismissed Kendrick as a simple rap artist. But the truth is, he is so much more. Lamar’s tracks are complex and layered in a literal, and more abstract, sense. His talented vocals tell the story of each persona he adopts. Whether it’s his lower, lusty and honeyed voice or his high-toned squeal, these vocals accentuate the raw purpose of the track and let you into Lamar’s curated headspace. Unlike some rappers whose music can become monotonous and sound like a chorus of mumbling, his sound is multi-faceted and toned. Each track he produces or creates carries a packed code for the listener to decipher, all the while using his technical prowess to orchestrate songs and bodies of work that will be buzzing through ears everywhere.
Not just anyone could draw the attention that Kendrick does, and that attests to his devotion to his music. He understands his platform is something that is coveted and hard to attain, and his music showcases his unique point of view. While some may classify his music as rap, his allusions to other eras of music and his implementation of sound, sample and voice scream in the face of other songs that only hum in the background. Whether it’s a loud and rowdy song like ‘HUMBLE’ or a softer, musing song like ‘LUST,’ the tracks treasure every element within, and that passion shows. Kendrick Lamar's music is not loveless, but in fact radiates with an intensity that some modern day, quick-to-fame rappers can not compete with.
Although Lamar has a very devoted following, Kendrick makes his music for himself. Each album has a sound; each song, an individual vibe that is distinctly himself. He’s also absolutely not afraid to switch up the entire music scene while he’s at it. Whether it’s a song that transitions into an actual interview with Tupac like ‘Mortal Man’ does, or a song like ‘i’ that includes a preaching speech; these songs don't just break a mold, they encourage others to expand their level of thinking and maybe even be inspired to make their own music in a unconventional way.
Lamar’s music isn’t just well-crafted; it is a pure embodiment of art. His expression of experience through his music resonates in us in a way that is unique to only him. His delivery, construction and execution are skillful and distinct and his tracks themselves, attract the infectious and powerful energy they emit. And Kendrick’s reign of power will only continue to dominate as he creates more and more.