Between receiving the key to the city of Compton and winning five Grammy Awards, Kendrick’s reign just won’t let up
Kendrick Lamar is having a whirlwind week. On Saturday, February 13th, the Compton native was honored by Mayor Aja Brown with the key to the city. Thousands showed up in Lamar’s honor, which is a testament to his selfless commitment to bettering his community.
On Monday, February 15th, during the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, Lamar was nominated for eleven awards and won five. His wins include: Best Music Video for “Bad Blood” featuring Taylor Swift, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “These Walls” featuring Thundercat, Anna Wise, Bilal. His second EP, “To Pimp A Butterfly” won Best Rap Album. His single “Alright” won Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. Lamar now has a total of seven Grammy’s having won Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance in 2015 for his self-love song, “I”.
While the rapper has achieved massive success in recent years, his humility in being recognized by his city was evident in his speech, “It’s the biggest thing. It’s really not about how famous I get, it’s really about me utilizing my platform and giving it back to these kids because that’s what I wanted as a kid. Everything that I do is a reflection of how I felt when I was younger.”
Oftentimes, celebrities deflect from the fact that they’re role models with legions of fans watching their every move. Lamar however is greatly aware of his influence and the power of his platform. The 27-year-old strives to lead by example. He recently released an introspective clip where he spoke about his experience meeting President Barack Obama at The White House. He and POTUS discussed the importance of mentorship and having “…[the] presence of an older acquaintance telling me what’s right and what’s wrong, telling me the pros and cons of every move I was about to make.”
While Lamar, who is currently in the midst of an international tour for his second album, “To Pimp A Butterfly” may not have as much time to devote to a mentee, he still finds time to maintain an active presence within his community which Mayor Brown noted in her opening remarks during the key ceremony. “Kendrick Lamar is a phenomenal artist whose work has served as a catalyst to raise a new level of consciousness for this generation,” she said. “His message challenges the status quo and motivates listeners to rethink our society’s institutions. He has a consciousness, and he realizes music is not just for entertainment but it’s for messaging.”
During his key acceptance speech Lamar said that his mother instilled in him that where he’s from meant strengthen. Having already been recognized as a “Generational Icon” by Senator Isadore Hall for donating hundreds of thousands of dollars towards after-school, music and sports youth programs, Lamar concluded his speech by sharing his commitment to continuing to reach back and pull forward the next generation. “Having this key to the city, it’s not just a representation or a glorification that ‘I have Compton, it’s a representation of all of us opening more programs for these kids, opening more job opportunities, that’s how I’m looking at it” he said.
“As long as I’m doing music, as long as I’m using my platform for something I’m a always—since day one—scream Compton and make sure I come back to this community and do right by it because y’all always done right by me.”