Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper and songwriter. He 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 major recognition in 2010, after his first retail release, Overly Dedicated. The following year, Lamar independently released his first studio album, Section.80, which included his debut single, "HiiiPoWeR". By that time, he had amassed a large Internet following and collaborated with several artists in the hip hop industry, including The Game, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and Lil Wayne.
Lamar secured a major-label record deal with Aftermath and Interscope Records, in 2012. His major-label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was released in October 2012 to critical success. The record contained the top 40 singles "Swimming Pools (Drank)", "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe", and "Poetic Justice". It debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Preceded by the Grammy Award-winning single "i", Lamar released his third album To Pimp a Butterfly in 2015 to universal acclaim. The album drew on free jazz, funk, soul, and spoken word, debuted atop the charts in the U.S. and the UK, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 58th ceremony. In 2016, Lamar released untitled unmastered., a collection of unreleased demos that originated during the recording sessions for Butterfly.