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Thursday, 18 May 2017 08:48

Mixtape Primer: Reviewing Kendrick Lamar's Pre-Fame Output

Written by  Mosi Reeves

**The Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year (YNIC) (Konkrete Jungle Muzik, 2004 or 2005) **1/2 Training Day (Top Dawg Ent., 2007) *** No Sleep 'Til NYC (with Jay Rock) (Top Dawg Ent.

, 2007) **1/2 C4 (Top Dawg Ent.) (Top Dawg Ent., 2009) ***1/2 Kendrick Lamar EP (Top Dawg Ent., 2009) ***1/2 OD: Overly Dedicated (Top Dawg Ent., 2010)

Kendrick Lamar is the rare musician to enjoy being called the "greatest rapper alive," a testament to his uncanny power as a verbal pugilist, his intoxicatingly complex lyrical themes and no small amount of pop savvy. But the MC didn't emerge as a fully formed virtuoso. Instead, much like Jay Z in the years before his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt, Lamar honed his technique out of the spotlight for years, save for a few cameos with boldfaced names like the Game and help from music industry mentors. When the world was finally ready to hear Lamar, he was ready.

Lamar has long said that he and DJ Dave Free made Hub City Threat (2004 or 2005), a tape that helped him land a deal with then-local rap label Top Dawg Entertainment,when he was 16. However, he freestyles over the Game and 50 Cent's fall 2004 hit "How We Do," which means he would have finished the project at the age of 17.

Read more at RollingStone

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