Kendrick Has Earned His Spot in the GOAT Conversation
By Jaylin Paschal
It's every rapper's goal to be listed among the greats--or, as you'll probably see on social media, the "GOAT's." Everyone who really cares about rap and Hip Hop strives to be mentioned among Biggie, Pac, Nas, Hov, Andre 3000, Rakim, Eminem, MF DOOM, etc. They want to transcend a career of being their fans' personal favorite, to being an indisputable force within the culture. It doesn't too much seem like anyone is satisfied being the "best out" or the "greatest of our generation." Everyone wants to be included in the GOAT conversation. When you're discussing the best--they want to hear their name.
Kendrick Lamar has earned his place in that conversation.
After To Pimp A Butterfly, it was a disputable possibility. With untitled, unmastered, his place in the conversation was in debate, as his throw aways composed one of the best projects of 2016. But with DAMN., there's no denying it. DAMN. offered the balance he needed to his catalog, perfectly complimenting all his other bodies of work without sounding redundant or unimaginative. He's at the top, and he deserves to be there. He's earned it. (And this is coming from someone who is very easily offended by people comparing their contemporary Hip Hop favorites to the likes of Biggie, Pac, Hov, etc.)
The Kendrick Lamar EP, Overly Dedicated, Section.80, Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City, To Pimp A Butterfly, untitled unmastered and DAMN. compose a discography that is competitive with those of our rap legends. He's created music that is played at cookouts, parties, basketball games and protests. His work has inspired entire books and been the subject of several class lectures. It's discussed in front-porch conversations and White House interviews. He can collaborate with A Tribe Called Quest and with Taylor Swift (as annoying as that was), and kills almost everyone he's ever on a track with. He is always reinventing but never gimmicky. At this point in his career, he is on par with if not surpassing the marks made by other greats.
With a near-perfect discography, several Grammy wins (TPAB alone has six), critical accolades, cultural impact, sonic ingenuity, stunning visuals, ridiculous versatility, commercial deals, mainstream success, competitive drive, an admirable authenticity and an undeniable spirit--King Kendrick has transcended into the realm of the all-time greats. And he knows it.
"My spot is solidified if you ask me," he rapped on "The Heart Part 4."