From Ice Cube to The Game, West Coast hip-hop’s unofficial Mecca—Compton—has served the world with numerous rap classics. Now, with a new breed of Compton rappers slowly but surely filling up the industry’s playing field, 23-year-old Kendrick Lamar steps up to the plate. After releasing a self-titled EP last year, his follow-up, O(verly) D(edicated), has garnered him praise from both fans and critics for its melancholy musical backdrops, overly personal lyricism, and riffs of justified braggadocio. He pushes a conscious approach, but reflects upon his gang-culture-engulfed surroundings with vivid details—kind of like Blu, but more aggressive and easier to find. Thanks to Dr. Dre's recent co-sign, many heads have noticed the young MC’s talents. Find out a thing or two about the rapper before there's no more room on the bandwagon…

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