Raised in Compton, California, Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the stage name K-Dot releasing a mixtape that garnered local attention and led to his signing with indie record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). He began to gain recognition in 2010 after his first retail release, Overly Dedicated. The following year, he independently released his first studio album, Section.80, which included his debut single "HiiiPoWeR". By that time, he had amassed a large online following and collaborated with several prominent hip hop artists, including The Game, Busta Rhymes, and Snoop Dogg.
Lamar's major label debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, was released in 2012 by TDE, Aftermath, and Interscope Records to critical acclaim. It debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was later certified platinum by the RIAA. The record contained the top 40 singles "Swimming Pools (Drank)", "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe", and "Poetic Justice". His critically acclaimed third album To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) incorporated elements of funk, soul, jazz, and spoken word. It debuted atop the charts in the U.S. and the UK, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 58th award ceremony.
In 2016, Lamar released Untitled Unmastered, a collection of unreleased demos that originated during the recording sessions for To Pimp a Butterfly. He released his fourth album, Damn, in 2017 to further acclaim; its lead single "Humble" topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, while the album itself became the first non-classical and non-jazz album to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Aside from his solo career, Lamar is also known as a member of the hip hop supergroup Black Hippy, alongside his TDE label-mates Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and Schoolboy Q. He has received many accolades over the course of his career, including 13 Grammy Awards. In 2012, MTV named him the "Hottest MC in the Game" on their annual list. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016.1
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