The Evolution of Kendrick Lamar

Happy birthday, Kendrick Lamar.

Sing About Him - Kendrick Lamar turns 29 today (June 17) and to celebrate the good kid, we're taking a look at some of his highlights, for a career that's reaching epic levels. Read on. ? BET Staff(Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BET)

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Sing About Him - Kendrick Lamar turns 29 today (June 17) and to celebrate the good kid, we're taking a look at some of his highlights, for a career that's reaching epic levels. Read on. — BET Staff(Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BET)

Good Kid - Kendrick Lamar ? yup, that's his real name ? was born June 17, 1987, in Compton, California. (Photo: Interscope Records)

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Good Kid - Kendrick Lamar — yup, that's his real name — was born June 17, 1987, in Compton, California. (Photo: Interscope Records)

The Real - Kendrick Lamar found early rap inspiration when he saw Tupac and Dr. Dre shooting the video for their classic "California Love" in Compton as a child.   (Photos from left: John Ricard / BET, Death Row Records)

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The Real - Kendrick Lamar found early rap inspiration when he saw Tupac and Dr. Dre shooting the video for their classic "California Love" in Compton as a child.  (Photos from left: John Ricard / BET, Death Row Records)

I Do This - Kendrick Lamar turned his childhood inspiration into furious rhymes. After he released a mixtape, Youngest Head N---a In Charge, at the age of 16, he caught the eye and ear of upstart indie label Top Dawg Entertainment, who signed him to a deal. In 2005 he released his first TDE project, Training Day, under the stage name K-Dot.   (Photo: Interscope Records)

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I Do This - Kendrick Lamar turned his childhood inspiration into furious rhymes. After he released a mixtape, Youngest Head N---a In Charge, at the age of 16, he caught the eye and ear of upstart indie label Top Dawg Entertainment, who signed him to a deal. In 2005 he released his first TDE project, Training Day, under the stage name K-Dot.  (Photo: Interscope Records)

The Kendrick Lamar EP - After making noise with features on two Game songs, "Cali N--z" and "The Cypha," Kendrick decided to ditch his K-Dot alias, releasing The Kendrick Lamar EP under his birth name in 2009. The move paralleled Kendrick's new focus on more personal, introspective rhymes.  (Photo: Interscope Records) 

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The Kendrick Lamar EP - After making noise with features on two Game songs, "Cali N--z" and "The Cypha," Kendrick decided to ditch his K-Dot alias, releasing The Kendrick Lamar EP under his birth name in 2009. The move paralleled Kendrick's new focus on more personal, introspective rhymes. (Photo: Interscope Records) 

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Section.80 - Kendrick Lamar broke through even further with his 2011 masterpiece Section.80, led by the single "A.D.H.D." The album topped year-end lists and had many hailing Kendrick as rap's top newcomer.   (Photo: Interscope Records)

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Section.80 - Kendrick Lamar broke through even further with his 2011 masterpiece Section.80, led by the single "A.D.H.D." The album topped year-end lists and had many hailing Kendrick as rap's top newcomer.  (Photo: Interscope Records)

Black Hippy Assembles - 2011 was also the year that Kendrick's crew, Black Hippy, began to break through. Also featuring his TDE labelmates Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul, the foursome released a series of banging freestyles and collabos. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

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Black Hippy Assembles - 2011 was also the year that Kendrick's crew, Black Hippy, began to break through. Also featuring his TDE labelmates Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul, the foursome released a series of banging freestyles and collabos. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

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The Next Episode - In the wake of the success of Section.80, Kendrick inked with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment. Not only did the deal move Kendrick to the big leagues, but it firmly aligned him with a long legacy of iconic Dre protégés, from Snoop Dogg to Eminem to 50 Cent to Game. (Photos from left: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup, John Sciulli/Getty Images for Clear Channel)

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King Kendrick - Just when the expectations couldn't get any bigger, Kendrick was crowned the next king of the West Coast by Snoop, Dre, The Game and Kurupt, who said that K-Dot "carried the torch," onstage at a show in L.A. (Photo: Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET)

The Cypher - Kendrick lived up to the hype when he killed The Cypher at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards.  (Photo: BET)

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The Cypher - Kendrick lived up to the hype when he killed The Cypher at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards.  (Photo: BET)

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Drake Takes Notice - Drake gave Kendrick a great look when he tapped the Compton MC to appear on "Buried Alive," from his blockbuster album Take Care. Drizzy also recruited Kendrick to open for him on his Club Paradise tour. (Photos from left: Chris McKay/Getty Images for BET, George Pimentel)

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Drake Takes Notice - Drake gave Kendrick a great look when he tapped the Compton MC to appear on "Buried Alive," from his blockbuster album Take Care. Drizzy also recruited Kendrick to open for him on his Club Paradise tour. (Photos from left: Chris McKay/Getty Images for BET, George Pimentel)

Kendrick Goes Gaga - Kendrick picked up another huge co-sign when Lady Gaga was spotted checking him out at Lollapalooza earlier this year. The pop star later exchanged complimentary tweets with Kendrick, and the two reportedly recorded together, though the results may never be released.  (Photos from left: John Ricard / BET, Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

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Kendrick Goes Gaga - Kendrick picked up another huge co-sign when Lady Gaga was spotted checking him out at Lollapalooza earlier this year. The pop star later exchanged complimentary tweets with Kendrick, and the two reportedly recorded together, though the results may never be released. (Photos from left: John Ricard / BET, Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

Kendrick Matters - Kendrick Lamar took his show on the road in the fall of 2012 as the headliner of BET's Music Matters Tour, hitting 26 dates with supporting acts, including Stalley, ScHoolboy Q and more.  (Photo: Aaron Davidson/FilmMagic)

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Kendrick Matters - Kendrick Lamar took his show on the road in the fall of 2012 as the headliner of BET's Music Matters Tour, hitting 26 dates with supporting acts, including Stalley, ScHoolboy Q and more.  (Photo: Aaron Davidson/FilmMagic)

At the Same Damn Time - Who knew Kendrick Lamar was such a talented multi-tasker? He was nominated, he performed and presented. Here he's backstage throwing up the peace sign and repping for Los Angeles.(Photo: Moses Robinson/Getty Images for BET)

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High Power - Kendrick Lamar's name rang out even louder when he beat out Jay Z, Nas and others for Lyricist of the Year at the 2012 BET Awards. (Photo: Moses Robinson/Getty Images for BET)

Album of the Year: Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d. city - Kendrick Lamar rocked critics and listeners alike with the release of his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d. city, which went platinum and is considered a classic in many circles.   (Photo: Interscope Records)

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Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself - Kendrick Lamar finally made his major-label debut on October 22, 2012 with the release of good kid, m.A.A.d. city. With production from his mentor Dr. Dre and Just Blaze and features from Drake and Mary J. Blige, the album lived up to the hype receiving critical acclaim and obtained platinum status in August 2013 after moving over a million copies. (Photo: Interscope Records)

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Vibe Killer - While everyone was turning up and trying to make molly the new drug of choice, Kendrick stood by himself with his video "B---h, Don't Kill My Vibe" and held a funeral for the strain of ecstasy. The stance gave kids a cool way and an out to say no to drugs. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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Vibe Killer - While everyone was turning up and trying to make molly the new drug of choice, Kendrick stood by himself with his video "B---h, Don't Kill My Vibe" and held a funeral for the strain of ecstasy. The stance gave kids a cool way and an out to say no to drugs. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Poetic Justice - Kendrick Lamar is the farthest thing from a commercial-bred artist, so you have to respect the fact that he made the mainstream conform to him and accept him on his terms. By sticking to his guns, K. Dot was able to bring home a few accolades after good kid, m.A.A.d city was absorbed by the people. A few of those trophies included the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards Album of the Year and Best International Artist at the MOBO Awards.   (Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images for BET)

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Poetic Justice - Kendrick Lamar is the farthest thing from a commercial-bred artist, so you have to respect the fact that he made the mainstream conform to him and accept him on his terms. By sticking to his guns, K. Dot was able to bring home a few accolades after good kid, m.A.A.d city was absorbed by the people. A few of those trophies included the 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards Album of the Year and Best International Artist at the MOBO Awards.   (Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images for BET)

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"It's On Again" - Kendrick showed he had super-powered abilities when he was summoned to appear with Alicia Keys on the Pharrell Williams-produced smash "It's On Again" from the The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The track was also included in the score and closed out the blockbuster film.(Photo: Miguel Aguilar, PacificCoastNews. )

"Control" - Kendrick stole the show on Big Sean's collaboration "Control" with him and Jay Electronica. Raising the bar for this new generation of MCs, K. Dot officially threw his name into the ring for the crown and warned other rappers, whether friend or foe, to stay out of his path. "I'm usually homeboys with the same n---as I'm rhymin' with/But this is hip hop and them n---as should know what time it is/And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electron', Tyler, Mac Miller/I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you n---s."(Photos from left: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Free The Children, Gary Miller/FilmMagic, Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

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"Control" - Kendrick stole the show on Big Sean's collaboration "Control" with him and Jay Electronica. Raising the bar for this new generation of MCs, K. Dot officially threw his name into the ring for the crown and warned other rappers, whether friend or foe, to stay out of his path. "I'm usually homeboys with the same n---as I'm rhymin' with/But this is hip hop and them n---as should know what time it is/And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electron', Tyler, Mac Miller/I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you n---s."(Photos from left: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Free The Children, Gary Miller/FilmMagic, Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Hood Gone Love It - K. Dot is a man of the people and many of his rhymes deal with the plight of women and the urban community. Putting his money where his mouth is, Kendrick has donated and helped raise millions of dollars for a few charities, including The Red Cross during Hurricane Sandy, and helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity. The Compton MC also performed a free benefit concert for L.A.'s Downtown Women's Center, a mission for homeless women.   And it's still only the beginning. Happy birthday, Kendrick!(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

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Hood Gone Love It - K. Dot is a man of the people and many of his rhymes deal with the plight of women and the urban community. Putting his money where his mouth is, Kendrick has donated and helped raise millions of dollars for a few charities, including The Red Cross during Hurricane Sandy, and helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity. The Compton MC also performed a free benefit concert for L.A.'s Downtown Women's Center, a mission for homeless women.   And it's still only the beginning. Happy birthday, Kendrick!(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

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Put a Ring on It - There's nothing like success with the love of your life by your side. On April 2015, Kendrick announced his engagement to his high school sweetheart, Whitney Alford.(Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

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Rap's Elite - After the release of To Pimp a Butterfly Lamar officially became part of rap's elite with another back-to-back critical success. At the same time, he even managed to join the pop elite with his appearance on the Taylor Swift video for her "Bad Blood" remix.(Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV)

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For the World to See - Kendrick's performance on stage during the 58th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016, was one the telecast's most epic and powerful moments. (Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

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Stacking Critical Acclaim - To Pimp a Butterfly was still riding high on the wave of critical acclaim at the top of the year — that culminated with five Grammy wins — when untitled unmastered was released. Of course, the critical acclaim didn't stop, as b-sides to Kendrick's modern classic only fueled the belief that Kendrick Lamar will become an important figure in hip-hop history.(Photo: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Turner)