Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar has been around for well over a decade. Although he had a slow start to his career, he has reached dizzying heights with his fantastic music and has become one of the most revered acts of his generation. Initially recording under the name of K.Dot, Lamar began to put his music out locally via small record shops and online with MySpace.
LA quickly warmed to Lamar’s sound, and before long the DAMN. rapper had a local buzz. As such, Anthony Griffin, founder of Top Dawg Entertainment, contacted the musician with a record deal on the table, in 2005, Lamar signed a contract with the Los Angeles-based independent label and, from there began to thrive. Shortly after landing his deal with TDE, in 2008, Lamar altered his stage name to his first and middle names and formed the Black Hippy collective. In 2011, Lamar finally released his debut studio album Section.80. Executively produced by TDE’s Digi+Phonics, the album was received well by music publications but peaked at 113 on the Billboard 200.
However, with his ear to the streets, an affinity for his hometown and an eye for talent, in 2012, Dr Dre signed Kendrick Lamar to his legendary label Aftermath. With access to the best music-making equipment available and a marketing team at the ready, upon signing with the legendary Dr Dre, Lamar began working on further bodies of work. Lamar’s. One of the musician’s most critically acclaimed albums is DAMN. Released in 2017, the album was certified triple platinum by the RIAA and even won a Grammy Award in the category of ‘Best Rap Album’.
Following the success of the Grammy-award-winning album, Lamar spoke with Beats One DJ Zane Lowe about the project. One of the songs he talked about is the iconic track ‘DUCKWORTH,’ which is the album’s final track. Explaining the story behind the song, Lamar unveiled how it was based on a true story of how TDE’s founder and CEO, almost stuck up and killed Kendrick’s father.
Elaborating further on the story, Lamar told the DJ, “About a year after I met Top Dawg. I met him when I was 16. My Pops came to the studio after I’d been locked in with him for a minute, and we got a relationship now, bring my Pops through. He heard I was dealing with Top Dawg, but my Pops personally don’t know him as Top Dawg. The industry knows him as Top Dawg… So when he walked in that room and he seen that Top Dawg was this guy, he flipped. Still, ’til this day, they laugh, and they laugh, and they trip out, and they tell the same story over and over to each other.”
When he played the song for Top Dawg, Lamar explained, “It was just the right time. Top himself didn’t know I was going to do it or even execute it in that fashion, to be the last song or to be anywhere. Just making it make sense. I remember playing it for him, he flipped because further than the song, when you really can hear your life in words that is so true to you and that effected your life one hundred per cent through one decision, it really makes you sit back and cherish the moment. I think that’s something we all did playing that record. Like, man, look where we at. We’re recording music for the world to hear, and we’re taking care of our families. We’re blessed. But listen to these words, like this is what happened. This is real life. It’s amazing, and since a kid, I’ve always said to myself, ‘anything is possible’, and it always comes around 10-fold, confirmation.’ And that story is confirmation.”
You can watch the Zane Lowe and Kendrick Lamar interview in the video below.