Rising hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar was the recent guest for an installment of The Recording Academy's 5 Questions With … series. Held at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, Lamar discussed his songwriting process, the pressure that comes with being dubbed the "New King of the West Coast" and his debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
"When you talk about legends like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Nas, ... it's a beautiful thing for them to accept me into this culture," Lamar said. "As far as pressure, I knew from the moment I wrote my first rap there was going to be pressure. I didn't come into this trying to be number two. I always wanted to be number one at what I'm doing."
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Dubbed the "New King of the West Coast" by fellow West Coast rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and the Game, Compton, Calif., native Lamar released his first mixtape at age 16. He followed with a series of mixtapes under the moniker K. Dot before using his birth name to release 2010's Overly Dedicated and 2011's Section. 80. The recordings caught the attention of GRAMMY-winning producer Dr. Dre., who signed Top Dawg Entertainment, the label home to Lamar, to his Aftermath label in 2012, giving Lamar access to the producer who helped launch the careers of GRAMMY winners 50 Cent and Eminem.
Released in October 2012, Lamar's major label debut, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Executive produced by Dr. Dre, the album features production by Just Blaze and GRAMMY winners Hit Boy and Pharrell Williams, among others, and includes the Billboard Hot 100 hits "B***h, Don't Kill My Vibe," "Swimming Pools (Drank)" and "Poetic Justice" with GRAMMY winner Drake.
Lamar is currently in the midst of a U.S tour, with dates scheduled through June.