Today, June 17, is the birthday of Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, who turns 31.

This Top Dawg Entertainment star and former XXL Freshman was destined for musical greatness almost from the beginning. Bred in Compton, Calif. on the same stomping grounds of legendary hip-hop group N.W.A, young K. Dot was named after Temptations singer Eddie Kendricks. After watching his idols, Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre, film the music video for their hit single "California Love" in his neighborhood in 1995, Kendrick became heavily influenced by rap.

After that, he started rapping and dropped his debut project, Youngest Head Nigga in Charge (Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year), at the age of 16. Based off his tape and word of mouth, the 17-year-old MC was then signed to Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) in 2004.

Fast forward to today and Kendrick is one of the biggest and best rappers the game's got. After being crowned an XXL Freshman in 2011, he dropped two highly successful albums under TDE, 2011's Section.80 and 2012's Good Kid, M.A.A.D city, the latter of which became a certified platinum LP and scored a XXL rating. In March of 2015, the rhymer dropped his long-awaited third studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly, to rave reviews. Critics praised Kendrick for his use of funk, soul and spoken word influences, his evolution as a storyteller and his astonishingly awesome collaborators the likes of George Clinton, Bilal, Snoop Dogg and the creativity of using Tupac Shakur's interview clippings.

K. Dot covered the Winter 2015 issue of XXL to discuss the impact of this album on music and his career. "Knowing that responsibility and knowing that I just may be one of the chosen ones, is part of the battle and one of my biggest conflicts now. To be that person…I’m just a kid from Compton, man. That new responsibility I have is something that I’m learning to deal with and I’m trying to figure out how to do it best."

Kendrick went on to win four Grammy Awards based off the success of TPAB including Best Rap Album and Song of the Year with "Alright." In March of 2016, to celebrate the anniversary of TPAB, "the chosen one" gave fans even more music when he dropped a project of the album's leftovers called untitled unmastered.

In 2017, K. Dot blessed the hip-hop world with DAMN., a  superb 14-track album that went platinum less than a month after its' release. On July 12, Lamar will kick-off the tour for the project, which includes "Loyalty" with Rihanna.

On Jan. 29, 2018, K. Dot continued to pile on his list of accolades when he brought home five trophies at the 2018 Grammy Awards, including the award for Best Rap Album.

Happy Birthday, K. Dot!

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