Kendrick Lamar Spreads His Wings In 2015

Kendrick Lamar sweeps the 2016 GRAMMY Awards nominations.

1. Kendrick Lamar sweeps the 2016 GRAMMY Awards nominations.

Look out, world, because Kendrick Lamar is poised to take over.

The 28-year-old received an impressive 11 GRAMMY Award nominations, including Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best Music Video

With three studio albums, a number of hit singles, and a history of incredible collaborations, Kendrick has risen to the top as one of music's most influential artists. Get to know more about the global phenomenon by finding out more about his roots, where he finds his inspiration, and some of his greatest accomplishments.

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He never forgets where he came from.

2. He never forgets where he came from.

Throughout his upbringing, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth was surrounded by poverty and crime. Born in Chicago, Kendrick's parents moved to Compton, California, where he was raised along with his three siblings.

While he's now majorly successful, the rapper still considers himself part of these rough communities, saying that he wants to use his celebrity to inspire disenfranchised youth. 

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He knew from a young age that he was destined for great things.

3. He knew from a young age that he was destined for great things.

When Kendrick was only 8 years old, he stumbled upon a music video that would forever change his life. The rappers in front of the camera were none other than Tupac and Dr. Dre, who were filming their video for "California Love" right in Kendrick's neighborhood. 

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He didn't always go by his real name.

4. He didn't always go by his real name.

Up until 2010, Kendrick performed under the name K. Dot and while some fans still refer to him by that moniker, he now prefers his real name, saying he wants to be known for who he really is and what he represents. 

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He's a master collaborator.

5. He's a master collaborator.

While Kendrick's talent certainly needs no bolstering, the artist finds inspiration in working with other musicians. Over the years, he's worked with a myriad of people like Pharrell Williams, Anna Wise, Snoop Dogg, Drake, Taylor Swift, and Flying Lotus.

Turns out teamwork really does pay off, too. Kendrick landed three GRAMMY nominations for his partnerships, including Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" and Best Dance Recording for Flying Lotus's "Never Catch Me."

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Musically, he rolls deep.

6. Musically, he rolls deep.

Kendrick tapped some hugely talented musicians—like legendary bass player Thundercat, alto saxophonist Terrance Marin, bandleader and string arranger Kamashi Washington, drummer Larrance Dopson, producer Sounwave, and keyboard player Robert Glasper—to play on his album, To Pimp A Butterfly

The same crew also showed up on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert when Kendrick was asked to perform a six-minute medley of his hits during the show's premiere week. 

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Third time's a charm for this artist.

7. Third time's a charm for this artist.

To Pimp A Butterfly is Kendrick's third studio album and, by far, his most successful. Following its debut, the album reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard 200, and remained on the Best R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts for a total of 37 weeks. 

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He likes to take his time.

8. He likes to take his time.

Kendrick started working on To Pimp A Butterfly in 2012 and tirelessly tweaked it until its release in 2015. Call it the work of a perfectionist or a labor of love, this LP is truly a work of art. 

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He has an eclectic taste in music.

9. He has an eclectic taste in music.

Try to pin Kendrick to one specific genre and you'll definitely fail. The artist grew up listening to a mix of oldies and hip-hop, and his love for multiple styles has only grown throughout his life. Kendrick says he draws inspiration from jazz, funk, indie-rock, soul, rap, hip-hop, and R&B, which is apparent in his latest album, To Pimp A Butterfly.

Kendrick fuses his favorite styles into his own unique sound with the help of multi-genre bass player Thundercat, funk aficionado George Clinton, and indie crooner Anna Wise. 

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All that

10. All that "Bad Blood" turned into something great.

No one is immune from Taylor Swift's allure, including Kendrick.

Earlier this year, he teamed up with the blonde bombshell to add a verse to her hit "Bad Blood," which gave him to his first-ever Billboard No. 1 song. The track was so successful, it stayed on the charts for four weeks. 

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He ranks amongst the best in the business.

11. He ranks amongst the best in the business.

As if To Pimp A Butterfly wasn't getting enough love already, a number of well-respected music mags and outlets ranked Kendrick amongst the year's greatest talents.

Following the album's release, Rolling Stone and Complex both included the LP in their "Best Albums of 2015 So Far" features. Then, by the end of the year, Kendrick solidified his spot on both Rolling Stone and Spin's "Top 50 Best Albums Of 2015." 

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He's not alone.

12. He's not alone.

While Kendrick's rhymes speak for themselves, it never hurts to have a great producer on your side—especially if that producer is Pharrell Williams. The man under the hat co-produced Kendrick's song "Alright" and has been known to step on stage during Kendrick's live performances of the track.

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He's no rookie.

13. He's no rookie.

In 2014, Kendrick was nominated for seven GRAMMY Awards, which is an impressive feat for any performer.

Although he didn't take home any awards that year, he'll forever be remembered for the following nods: Best New Artist, Album Of The Year (for good kid, M.A.A.D city), Best Rap Album(for good kid, M.A.A.D city), Best R&B Performance (for "How Many Drinks" with Miguel), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (for "Now Or Never" with Mary J. Blige), Best Rap Performance (for "Swimming Pools (Drank)"), and Best Rap Song (for "F***in' Problems" with A$AP Rocky, Drake, and 2 Chainz).

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He already has a collection of golden gramophones.

14. He already has a collection of golden gramophones.

Kendrick's no stranger to the hottest music night of the year. He won two statues at the 2015 GRAMMYs for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.

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He's gonna be just fine.

15. He's gonna be just fine.

Of all the tracks on To Pimp A Butterfly, "Alright" has been the most successful. Since it was released as his fourth single on June 30, 2015, the track has landed him GRAMMY Awards nominations for Song Of The Year, Best Rap Song, and Best Music Video

Find out the other artists nominated for a 2016 GRAMMY Award and don't forget to watch music's biggest night on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at 8/7c. 

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