Music

The Best Kendrick Lamar’s Songs

18.03.2019

If you don’t know who Kendrick Lamar is, then we’re gonna have to ask you to leave. He is not only one of our favorites but also, he is one of the most popular, talented rappers in his generation. The 30-year-old Compton rapper earned his spot by merely being the best. He started off making music based on the stories he wrote about the rough Compton streets he grew up on as a kid. Then he started rapping under the name K-Dot, releasing favorite mixtapes, which brought him to the attention of hip-hop super-producer, Dr. Dre.

 

Check out our chart of the best Kendrick Lamar’s songs!

HUMBLE

AlbumDAMN
Year: 2017

DAAAAMN. Kendrick Lamar won the best record of the year, best music video, best rap song and best rap performance for HUMBLE on the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2017. Unbelievable right? Damn, he really is good and if you haven’t seen the music video yet, shame on you – it is one of the best Kendrick Lamar’s songs.

DNA

Album: DAMN
Year: 2017

DNA is not just the DNA you’re thinking of, but it also actually stands for “Dead Negro Association.” The lyrics to the song are blatantly violent, and much of the violence mentioned is tied to their race. We see Kendrick portraying violence as a necessity for respect when he says “You ain’t shit without a body on your belt.” And even further when he says “Sex, money, murder – these are the breaks,” implying violence due to their stereotypes.

Alright

Album: To Pimp a Butterfly
Year: 2015

 

“Alright,” one of the best Kendrick Lamar songs gives a bit of hope to both Kendrick himself and his listeners when he says “we gon’ be alright” hopeful that he’s able to look his past failures. The chorus of this song made a strong impact in the protest of Black Lives Matter in the summer of 2015, where all activists chanted “we gon’ be alright” to mourn all the black people killed by the police.

Nigga, and we hate po-po

Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho’

Kendrick performed the song “Alright” on top of a police car at the 2015 BET awards, to further highlight the song’s purpose of protesting against police brutality. However, the song was nominated for four awards, eventually winning both Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song in 2016.

m.A.A.d city

Album: Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Year: 2012

 

The name “m.A.A.d City” is such a well-thought name. It is actually an acronym for both “my Angel on Angel’s dust” and “my Angry Adolescence divided.” The song is also a reference to the 90’s Compton based hip-hop group “WC and the Maad Circle.”

 

Kendrick brings back early memories of witnessing someone getting shot when he was only 9 (probably his uncle) or about his cousin getting killed back in the 1994 for a broken truce. He also talks about his father telling him getting a job but got fired after a robbery.

LOVE.FEAT.ZACARI

Album: DAMN
Year: 2017

“LOVE” talks about the love of Kendrick’s life, Whitney Alford. He uses the song to ask the essential questions to his partner to reassure the vital aspect of their relationship: Love.

I bought the big one to prove it

which he did when he got engaged later on during the year. The song eventually peaked at the #11 spot on the Hot 100 chart in 2017 and the music video was released in the same year on 21st December.

Backseat Freestyle

Album: Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Year: 2012

Initially produced by Chauncey Hollis a.k.a Hit-Boy and was actually meant for Ciara’s single titled Hit-Boy before giving it to Kendrick. The song shadowed the early age of Kendrick when he was a teenager.

LOYALTY

Album: DAMN
Year: 2017

Ah, Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna, what more can you ask for? In the track of “LOYALTY,” the duo ponders the value of loyalty and honesty in both platonic and romantic relationship. In the music video, they fend off big hitmen, murder attempt, and literal street sharks. If you like yourself some exciting music videos, we definitely recommend you to watch it!

Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe

Album: Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Year: 2012

The song name says it all; it is what it is! But here’s a fun fact: this song initially was supposed to feature Lady Gaga, but she didn’t make it in the end due to the deadline for the pre-order date.

King Kunta

Album: To Pimp a Butterfly
Year: 2015

King Kunta is actually based on a fictional 18th-century slave named Kunta Kinte in Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley. He is known for his right foot being cut off because of attempting to escape his plantation.  

 

King Kunta, everybody wanna cut the legs off him

Kunta, black man taking no losses, oh yeah.

King's Dead

Album: Black Panther
Year: 2018

A collaboration with Jay Rock, Future, James Blake and Black Hippy, Kendrick dropped his track on February 16. And in the music video, he was spotted wearing a hoodie from the VIER shop, an Antwerp x Uber and Kosher collection. In the same month, on the 27th, he opened a one day only pop up shop in VIER, Antwerp, Belgium, to promote his exclusive DAMN merchandise.

ELEMENT

Album: DAMN
Year: 2017

Before the album, DAMN, release, Lebron James jammed the hell out of to this song on his Instagram story. But not just that, he was having a great time dancing to Kendrick Lamar’s “Untitled 07” song on SInow Sportsman of the Year event in Brooklyn. Lebron loved it so much he sent a message to Anthony Tiffith, TDE’s (Top Dawg Entertainment) CEO, to release Kendrick Lamar’s untitled tracks, in which they released them about a week after, “Untitled, Unmastered.”

 

The music video for “Element,” directed by Jonas Lindstroem, was released on June 27 in 2017.

Poetic Justice

Album: Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Year: 2012

In an interview with Complex magazine, Kendrick explained:

If you listen to ‘Poetic Justice,’ it’s a song about a chick saying these legs are poems. On the back end of that, is really the Sherane joint, so it’s a dedication song for Sherane. And that’s going to ‘good kid’ and ‘m.A.A.d city’ which completes the story.

Swimming Pools (Drank)

Album: Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Year: 2012

Kendrick addresses the psychological connection between peer pressure and alcoholism. This song is a reflective take on the social pressure and self-defeating attitudes that drive people to drink.

He told Complex about the idea behind this song:

… What better way to make something universal than to speak about drinking? I’m coming from a household where you had to make a decision—you were either a casual drinker, or you were a drunk. That’s what that record is really about, me experiencing that as a kid and making my own decisions.

The Recipe

Album: Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Year: 2012

The recipe introduces the world to the 3 Ws that California has to offer: Women. Weed. Weather.

Kendrick explained to Big Boy on Power 106

The Recipe, it’s one of those things that everyone in the world can relate to. That’s the three things you need in life; that’s the recipe you need in life.

All the Stars

Album: Black Panther
Year: 2018

All the Stars, from the album Black Panther, was released on February 4, just one week before the film Black Panther was released too. In the music video, Kendrick Lamar takes a voyage to Africa standing on top of a sea of hands waving below. In a way, it may depict all the bodies who drowned during the Middle Passage or as well as a crowd at a concert. The song music video is spectacular and is worth watching.