Although Kendrick Lamar is hardly new to the rap game, this was his year, without question. It started with the merging of his home label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) with Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records in March. He quickly became a household name after coming under the mentorship of Dr. Dre and releasing several huge singles.
His chart-topping debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was dubbed a potential classic before it was even released. Whether or not it’s held up to that title, it’s sold nearly half a million copies since its release on October 22nd. It’s peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums lists, and at #2 on their general Top 200 list.
Lamar has appeared on more than 30 features this year, with artists ranging from Meek Mill to Mac Miller, and has graced the cover of multiple magazines. On the cover of the latest issue of The Source, he’s pictured rocking a crown. It’s a fitting image. Kendrick was king this year, plain and simple.