Are We Being Fair to Kendrick?
April brought us Kendrick Lamar’s new album titled Damn that was a huge departure of his previous works yet it still had the success of his two past albums. Damn brought back into conversation over whether Kendrick is the greatest rapper who ever lived, which I truly feel is unfair to him. Lamar has released 4 original albums in his career and those four are considered by many to be the best start to any rapper's career -- yet to consider someone who hasn’t turned 30 to be the greatest ever forgets the realization that Lamar could easily release 7 or more albums before he is past his prime and might retire from the industry. It is safe to say though that right now Lamar is the greatest rapper alive, but we must also realize that once we see the highly anticipated releases on both Eminem and Kanye’s new albums, sometime this year the answer might change for greatest rapper alive. It is safe to say though that as of now Lamar controls the valuable title of greatest rapper alive and holds it by a wide margin over every competitor.
Sure, Drake might get more plays on the radio and make more money yet being a great rapper has nothing to do with how much money you make. Lamar could easily release two albums a year and make hundreds of millions of dollars a year by having maybe two or three hit songs an album, yet Lamar is not driven by the money and lives a modest lifestyle where he stays away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood and works as hard as anyone on his music. That’s what I find most commendable about him that he creates wonderful music and even though it takes awhile it never seems he is sitting back counting his cash. It is fair to say that Lamar’s trajectory sets him up for being the best as through the course of all his albums he never felt like he needed to master his craft anymore, his rhyming and rapping skills unlike many other stars were well crafted from his first album and didn’t need a lot of development. He has started to take more risks as To Pimp a Butterfly was a daring masterpiece that he released when no one expected him to craft two consecutive masterpieces which very few rappers have been able to do.
It is reasonable to say that Lamar if he continues on his track he will soon be the Greatest Rapper Ever as it seems that that he truly wants it. We are being unfair to Kendrick by considering that he is already the greatest ever as Lamar could easily rest on his laurels and release sub par albums that make him tons of money if he wished to. I truly believe Lamar won’t do that and he will one day become the greatest ever but as of now let's be more realistic. Kendrick is on track to be the greatest we’ve ever seen yet four albums is way too small a track record to be considered the best, yet we have already seen just how innovative and talented Kendrick Lamar is and how he is a once in a generation talent.