At just 30 years old, rapper Kendrick Lamar has accomplished a lot in his career. He's been named the Greatest Rapper Alive by at least five publications and fellow rappers this year, and after the release of his third full-length album, "DAMN.", he has eight MTV VMA nominations, the most this year. So how did Kendrick get here?
Here are 15 things Kendrick has achieved… That you likely haven’t.
1. "A" is for "achievement"
Kendrick was a straight A student at Compton Centennial High. Academic achievement never looked so cool.
2. Platinum Debut
His major-label debut album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” hit the #2 spot in the charts. After just two months, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
"I don’t just wanna be a popular person, I want my music to always live because that’s what’s gonna drive your legacy." - Kendrick Lamar
3. Billboard dominance
Though many rappers claim to be the best, Kendrick was named one of the top 10 best rappers of all time by Billboard in 2015, alongside hip hop icons like Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, and Lil Wayne.
4. Grammys Gold
Kendrick has earned 27 nominations and won 7 Grammys. In 2016, he received 11 nominations and officially became the rapper with the most number of nominations in a single Award show. (The person with the most nominations ever? Michael Jackson with 12.)
5. Dancing with the Queen
At the 2016 BET Awards, Kendrick made a huge splash when he surprised the audience and joined Beyoncé on stage for the debut performance of her remixed “Freedom.”
6. Collaborators in high places
Beyond Queen Bey, he’s also collaborated with the biggest names in music, like Kanye West, Eminem, Drake, Snoop Dogg, Taylor Swift, The Game, Busta Rhymes, and DJ Khaled.
7. Under His Influence
Time Magazine named Kendrick one of the hundred most influential people in the world in 2016. Other honorees included Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Charlize Theron, Usain Bolt, Karlie Kloss, Mark Zuckerberg, and Priscilla Chan.
8. Got Kicks?
Kendrick has had numerous collaborations with Reebok, but the sneakers aren’t just fashion statements; they were designed with both equality and anti-gang violence messages in mind.
"I don't think a lot of brands will let you put anything that has some type of gang significance on the back of a shoe. They granted our wish, which is a blessing that's bigger than just me; it's bigger than the shoe. It actually represents the struggle inside the community." - Kendrick Lamar
9. Saturday Nights, Live
He’s been the musical guest not once, not twice, but three times on "Saturday Night Live."
Have you been featured in a Lonely Island digital short with Adam Levine? Didn’t think so.
11. What Would Yeezus Do?
Kanye’s Yeezus tour was his first solo tour in 5 years, so when he asked Kendrick to join him on his highly anticipated run, it was a huge deal. The tour went on to gross $25 million over 18 shows.
“Kanye said he didn’t want to make it seem like we were just the opener. It was dope to have the actual headliner of the show want my show to be just as good as his.” - Kendrick Lamar
12. Spotify Topper
Kendrick set a world record with 9.6 million streams the day he released his second full-length album “To Pimp a Butterfly” on Spotify in March 2017.
13. Cover Man of the Year
GQ named Kendrick “Rapper of the Year” and featured him on cover of their Men of the Year edition. The feature went on to praise him as “the latest—and possibly greatest—rapper to come straight outta Compton.”
"Kendrick Lamar is one of the most talented new musicians to arrive on the scene in years. That's the reason we chose to celebrate him, wrote an incredibly positive article declaring him the next King of Rap, and gave him our highest honor: putting him on the cover of our Men of the Year issue." - Jim Nelson, GQ Editor-in-Chief
14. No Bad Blood
Kendrick lent his talents to a rap verse in a remix of Taylor’s “Bad Blood” and the single reached number one in the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, and Scotland charts.
15. An Icon and a Major Key
Kendrick has been awarded two Civic Honors: The California State Senate’s Generational Icon Award, and the Key to his hometown, the City of Compton.
"Being from the City of Compton and knowing the parks that I played at and the neighborhoods, I always thought how great the opportunity would be to give back to my community off of what I do in music.... I thank you from the bottom of my heart for honoring me today." - Kendrick Lamar