Born on June 17, 1987, in Compton, California, Kendrick Lamar took inspiration from the legendary gangsta rap stars who originated from his tough neighborhood – including Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and Eazy-E - and crafted a style that talked about the harsh realities of his upbringing with an honest lack of machismo. Originally calling himself K-Dot, he was made to freestyle for two hours at his audition for Top Dawg Entertainment because label bosses couldn't believe that a 16-year-old could come up with such talented rhymes. Eventually, they believed and signed him up, and his reputation grew with mixtapes including Training Day (2005), C4 (2009) and Overly Dedicated (2010), before a video of him taking on Charles Hamilton in an impromptu freestyle rap battle set the hip hop community on alert. He featured on tracks by Game and formed the collective Black Hippy with Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q, before debut album Section.80 (2011) took on themes of racism, politics and gang crime. Produced by Dr Dre, follow-up Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (2012) proved his big commercial breakthrough, reaching Number 2 in the US charts and producing the Top 20 single “Swimming Pools (Drank)”. Marked as one of rap's biggest young talents, he released the To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), which was an international success, reaching Number 1 the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. The album included the singles “The Blacker the Berry” and “These Walls”. The 2017 album Damn was another international success and included the massive hit single “Humble”. Kendrick Lamar then curated the soundtrack to the 2018 motion picture Black Panther. He composed songs for the soundtrack as well as inviting friends – Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Khaled, Jay Rock, and others – to contribute songs to the album Black Panther: The Music. The album included the hit singles “All the Stars” (featuring SZA), “Pray For Me” (featuring The Weeeknd), and “King’s Dead” (featuring Jay Rock, Future, and James Blake). After collaborating with several artists including Nipsey Hussle, Anderson.Paak, and SiR, Kendrick Lamar returned in 2022 with the Number 1 album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. The album – which includes the Top 10 hits “N95” and “Silent Hill” - features guest appearances from Blxst, Amanda Reifer, Sampha, Taylor Paige, Kodak Black, Baby Keem, Sam Dew, and Beth Gibbons.