Rapper Kendrick Lamar received a ceremonial key to his hometown city of Compton, California, during a publicized event Saturday.
— Jeandra LeBeauf (@jethang) February 14, 2016
NME reports that Aja Brown, the mayor of Compton, even paid tribute to the “Alright” rapper last month when announcing that Kendrick Lamar would receive this prestigious honor.
“Kendrick Lamar is a phenomenal artist whose work has served as a catalyst to raise a new level of consciousness for this generation. His message challenges the status quo and motivates listeners to rethink our society’s institutions.”
Kendrick Lamar shared an invitational flyer to the event on Twitter Friday, which featured a photo of the rapper along with the hashtag #KeytoCPT.
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) February 13, 2016
28-year-old Kendrick Lamar was born in Compton, California, on June 17, 1987. An inspirational and significant moment in his life occurred in 1995 when 8-year-old Kendrick had a starstruck experience of epic proportions as he witnessed Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur film their music video to the hit song, “California Love.”
With all of the crime and violence that circulated throughout the streets of Compton, Kendrick’s life could have very easily led him into a wrong direction. However, during an interview with Hip Hop DX, he made it clear that his father’s involvement in his life played a vital role in his overall success and survival as a child.
“I feel that we’re all good kids in a mad city. It’s just the circumstances that [are] around us that turn us…evil…whether it’s through gang violence, police brutality…drugs [or] women. It all stems from being a kid and just the sh*t you’re exposed to. I was exposed to it, too, but I was fortunate enough to have an active pops to show me the stepping stones and…what was right and wrong. Most of the friends I grew up with didn’t have a pops. If they did, they weren’t active.”
Fast forward to March 15, 2015 — the release date of Kendrick’s third studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly — an album that spawned several hit singles including “I” and “Alright.”
Kendrick Lamar has also been a constant name mentioned within the circle of Grammy nominations in recent years.
At the 2014 Grammy Award ceremony, Kendrick Lamar was nominated for seven different awards, including “Album of the Year.” The following year, Kendrick won the Grammy awards for “Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap Performance” for his hit single, “I.”
With the 2016 Grammy Awards ceremony days away, fans and critics alike are eagerly waiting to see how many of Kendrick’s 11 nominations will turn into wins for the successful rapper.
In a December 2015 interview with the New York Times, Kendrick Lamar made it clear that he does not just want one specific category — he wants them all. According to Lamar, it’s not only a statement for himself “but it’s a statement for the culture.” Kendrick further stated that “they’re all important because of the foundation the forefathers laid before” him, including Nas and Tupac Shakur, rappers that “didn’t get a chance to be in that position.”
Along with his award nominations, Kendrick Lamar is also expected to turn quite a few heads with his highly anticipated performance on the Grammy stage.
Rapper and five-time Grammy Awards host LL Cool J opened up about what to expect from Kendrick Lamar’s performance during an interview with the Wrap. According to LL Cool J, Kendrick is expected to do something “controversial.”
“I think people are in for a spectacular show. Kendrick Lamar is going to do something very controversial,” he said. “That’s what art is about. It’s not about whether you agree or disagree. It’s about it stimulating conversation and provoking people to have conversations about society. And if that’s what you want your art to do as an artist, if that’s the lane you choose you’re accomplishing something if people are talking about what you are doing. It’s going to be amazing.”
Kendrick Lamar received a ceremonial key to his hometown city on Saturday and could very well walk away from the Grammys on Monday night with a handful of awards. To say that the young rapper is having a good month so far would be a major understatement.
[Image Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images]