Kendrick Lamar has had a fantastic last few years.
Section.80, Kendrick’s debut studio record, released in 2011 to critical acclaim, receiving near-perfect scores from all music and media pundits. Pitchfork Media placed the record at 45 on its “Top 50 albums of 2011,” and Complex Magazine named the record the 7th best record of 2011.
Fast forward a year, and we got the release of the exalted Good Kid, m.A.A.d City that, much like Section.80, received near-perfect scores; Good Kid, m.A.A.d City obtained a plethora of accolades from reaching the No. 2 spot on the US Billboard 200 Chart to being named the second best rap album in the last five years by Complex Magazine, in addition to going platinum a year after its release.
Three years after the release of Good Kid, m.A.A.d City, audiophiles and music critics were deafened by Lamar’s silence; the world watched Top Dawg Entertainment, Kendrick Lamar’s record label, closely to see if a surprise record distribution would happen. With a couple of singles trickling into the airwaves, people believed Kendrick was up to something. And they were right: To Pimp A Butterfly dropped in 2015, three years after Good Kid, m.A.A.d City set the world ablaze. And, again, Kendrick Lamar did it: he put out another critically acclaimed record. However, instead of “near-perfect” scores, it seems Lamar dropped a perfect record: audiophiles, music pundits, and media outlets gave To Pimp A Butterfly 10’s and A+’s and 5/5 stars. And, again, a year after its release, To Pimp A Butterfly went platinum, just like Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. (If anyone is counting, that’s two platinum records now.)
What else could Kendrick Lamar do? Oh, I don’t know, drop a compilation record full of To Pimp A Butterfly B-Sides, titled untitled unmastered. that charted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart. What’s interesting is the length of Kendrick’s career: his first mixtape was Y.H.N.I.C. (Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year), released in 2003. Since that time, he’s put out four more mixtapes before his Section.80 debut. Sadly, he wasn’t in media sights until his fifth and final mixtape, Overly Dedicated, released in 2010, came out. Until then, Kendrick Lamar was a diamond in the rough — I’m glad Indiana Jones found him.
The Compton rapper has put his city on the map, to say the least. VICE Magazine‘s Noisey, an online music television channel for VICE’S VICELAND, debuted its first episode with Kendrick Lamar and a visit to his hometown of Compton. Lamar has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Compton schools to help better the students, and has donated money to the Compton community to better the city. Along with being a talented MC, Kendrick is a philanthropist, too. Who knew.
What is the point of all of this? Well, the point is Kendrick Lamar is someone to watch.
(I knew that already. So what?)
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) March 22, 2016
And, as someone to watch, it is always impressive when Kendrick does live performances, especially of tracks that are only B-Sides. (See what I’m getting at here?) Kendrick Lamar headlined March Madness in Houston, Texas, just yesterday. His performance was broadcast on both TBS and TNT, as well as streamed online worldwide. Perhaps with the massive audience tuning in, Lamar thought it was a good idea to perform a track from his No. 1 Billboard 200 charted record, untitled unmastered. So, to give the people watching a grand performance, Kendrick broke out “Untitled 7 | Levitate” for his fans to levitate to.
If you haven’t picked up Kendrick’s latest record, I implore you to do so. And, if you’d like to levitate with Kendrick, check out the frenetic performance above.
[Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]