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Born in Compton, California in 1987, Kendrick Lamar has made the transition from independent artist to global music star with ease. After releasing a number of mixtapes independently, the first official Kendrick Lamar album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, landed in 2012. Lamar has worked with other artists extensively during his career including Eminem, Lil Wayne and Dr. Dre. He is also a member of the supergroup Black Hippy, which he formed in 2009.
Heavily influenced by the music of Tupac Shakur and Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar originally went under the stage name K-Dot. At the age of just 16 and using the K-Dot moniker, Lamar released his first mixtape in 2003. Amassing a substantial following on the internet, Lamar managed to secure a deal with independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment. While signed to the Top Dawg Entertainment label, Lamar released three further mixtapes with Training Day appearing in 2005, C4 in 2009 and Overly Dedicated in 2010. Overly Dedicated was the first of these to be released under Kendrick Lamar's birth name, rather than the K-Dot pseudonym.
In 2011, the first official album from Kendrick Lamar, Section.80, was released for digital download to widespread critical acclaim. Hit songs from the album included HiiiPoWeR and Ronald Reagan Era His Evils which featured RZA from Wu-Tang Clan. 2012 saw the release of Lamar's first major record label album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, which peaked at number 16 in the UK album chart. The debut single from the album, Swimming Pools Drank, reached he Top 20 of the Billboard Chart in the USA and marked Lamar's first ever entry into the UK singles chart. This initial UK hit was followed in 2013 by Give It 2 U, a collaboration with Robin Thicke, which reached number 15.
Kendrick Lamar is known for his many collaborations with his contemporaries, both on record and live in concert. In 2011, he appeared on stage with Dr.Dre, Snoop Dog and Game, which led to him being dubbed the New King of the West Coast by his three fellow artists. In 2013, Lamar supported Kanye West on his first tour for five years. Lamar has won a number of awards during his career including the 2013 MOBO Award for International Artist. He has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards.