65th Annual Grammy Awards: 5 Quintessential Songs By Kendrick Lamar

The Compton rapper earned eight nods at this year’s show.

The 2023 Grammy Awards ceremony is fast-approaching, and in preparation for this year’s big event, we’re getting folks geared up and ready for their favorite artists to take home some hardware.

It’s music that ties everyone together, and sometimes, you just need a little trip down memory lane in remembrance of why those nominated are so talented. For us, it’s just putting together a little tribute to those who get us through the daily grind or are a point of relaxation when chillin’ around the crib or riding around in the whip.

Kendrick Lamar is nominated for eight Grammys this year, including Album of the Year for the fourth consecutive time for Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, as well as Song of the Year and Record of the Year, among others.

To commemorate, has compiled five quintessential songs by Kendrick Lamar (see below).

  • “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain)” feat. Ashtrobot (2011)

    Perhaps not a track that makes many top 5 K Dot lists but it’s one of his most starkly descriptive and detailed works he created early on. The Section.80 cut describes the neighborhood activities of a fictional character named Keisha who assumes the role of someone’s daughter or little sister that only Kendrick can see. It also portrays her demise to close the song in a manner similar to a noir film.

  • “HUMBLE.” (2017)

    Who doesn’t dance along to “HUMBLE.”? The DAMN. hit’s piano loops mixed with heavy-hitting 808s is sure to set the place to be on fire, thanks to Mike WiLL Made-It. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and has an amazing visual to match.

  • “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” (2012)

    What would a Kendrick Lamar songs list be without a good kid, m.A.A.d city standout? “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” has the Compton rapper seeking inner peace despite being a self-described “sinner” while also rapping about all of the damaging changes he’s going through in his life. The soulful hook is also money, making it one of the more memorable songs on Kendrick’s classic sophomore LP.

  • “Money Trees” feat. Jay Rock (2012)

    Actually, what would a Kendrick Lamar songs list be without two hits from good kid, m.A.A.d city. Nothing is more memorable from a K Dot show from back in the day than a performance of the Jay Rock-assisted “Money Trees”. The DJ Dahi-produced cut features a sample of Beach House’s indie-rock hit “Silver Soul” and relays some of Lamar’s best songwriting of his career. It details a topic often at the center of his music – trying to attain the comforts and accolades life can provide, but at what cost?

  • “Alright” (2015)

    2015 was a big year of transition for Kendrick Lamar. Coming off of his first two albums, which were mega successes for different reasons, the Compton rapper took three years in between the release of GKMC to drop his third effort To Pimp A Butterfly. And boy was it worth the wait. Considered by many to be his best album, TPAB’s “Alright” is the most heavy-hitting stand out on the project and became an anthem that emerged as the centering rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s the hope shrouded in a time of stark uncertainty that makes the hit one of Kendrick Lamar’s preeminent masterpieces to date.

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