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Marcus Graham @KennyUnfazed
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Kendrick Lamar’s Rise & The Importance Of Jay Rock (Thread)
I’ll start in 2005. Kendrick is a 17 or 18 year old rapper going by the name “K. Dot”. He’s about one year into his deal with local record label Top Dawg Entertainment. He’s here in a cypher in Jay Rock’s projects
In 2007, TDE adds a third member to the roster. Ab-Soul from Carson, California.
During this time, Jay Rock is picking up a lot of steam and becoming a local celebrity. The same year TDE signed Ab-Soul, they signed a joint venture with Warner Bros. for Jay Rock to have a major label deal
Jay Rock is getting a lot of opportunities, and he takes K. Dot with him every where, regardless of the situation. It’s this selflessness that would lead to TDE’s success
Jay Rock’s first single is gonna be “All My Life (In The Ghetto)”. He wants a Lil Wayne feature. At the time, Wayne is arguably the biggest artist in all of music. He’s touring, so Rock buys himself and K. Dot plane tickets to Virginia to get the record done.
In early 2008, an unfinished version of “All My Life” leaks and TDE has to get all the posts taken down. Jay Rock calls West Coast legend, DJ Quik to master the song
Jay Rock - All My Life (In The Ghetto) (ft. Lil Wayne &

The song gets an official release, and it now features pop superstar, Jay Rock makes sure K. Dot gets tons of camera time. The song spreads like wildfire.
(Part 2)

Jay Rock shares a verse with the biggest rapper in the world and holds his own. After the verse, K. Dot is in just about every other shot. Ab-Soul also makes a quick cameo on the billboard
The success of “All My Life” allows Jay Rock to tour with K. Dot as his hypeman. Rock always finds a way to let Kendrick show his skill. Rock has a show in NYC with Charles Hamilton. Part of Charles’ show is rapping with fans. A member of Rock’s team points out K. Dot
Still in 2009, TDE officially signs ScHoolboy Q from South Central, after he’d been affiliated with the label for 3 years.
Kendrick Lamar - She Needs Me

K. Dot decides he wants to take a more vulnerable approach to he art. He changes his stage name from K. Dot, to Kendrick Lamar, his first and middle name. “She Needs Me” is the first song of his played on the radio in the LA area
On New Years Eve 2009, Kendrick releases “Kendrick Lamar EP”. He starts to build a following on the internet, outside of Jay Rock’s fan base
Rock, Kendrick, Soul and Q have formed a brotherhood by this point. Q has the idea that the four should officially become a group. They agree on the name, “Black Hippy”.
(Part 2)

Ab-Soul went last and snapped
Jay Rock is named a 2010 XXL freshman, alongside J. Cole, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Nipsey Hussle and a few others. Of course, he takes Kendrick with him. Kendrick befriends J. Cole. One of the artists is late. Kendrick jokes with Cole that they should put him on the cover instead.
There’s a regime change at Warner. All the executives who prioritized Jay Rock are gone. The new executives won’t let him put his album out. He leaves the label and signs with Tech N9ne’s Strange Music
While the label doesn’t exactly make a killing on the billboard charts, Tech has built an empire with touring and merch, grosssing tens of millions of dollars a year. He also has a reputation for going the extra mile in his performances. Rock takes Kendrick on the road with him
Jay Rock, Kendrick, and the rest of the TDE team learns a lot about the business side of music from Tech and his label
Ab-Soul - Turn Me Up (ft. Kendrick Lamar) (2010)

Ab-Soul releases his “Longterm 2” mixtape. “Turn Me Up” is a standout song on there. At the end of the song, Kendrick repeatedly sings “I just gotta be heard”. He’d have his chance a lot sooner than expected.
Kendrick Lamar - Ignorance Is Bliss

Just 20 days after uploading “Turn Me Up”, TDE uploads the video for Kendrick’s “Ignorance Is Bliss”. This video would get the attention of music icon, Dr. Dre.
Jay Rock - Diary Of A Broke Nigga (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

Free from Warner Bros. and able to release music again, Jay Rock drops his “Black Friday” mixtape. He gets Kendrick to do the hook for this song, and the video stars ScHoolboy Q, who still hasn’t released a project under TDE
Kendrick Lamar - Look Out For Detox

Dr. Dre calls into Big Boy’s Neighborhood and says “I’m looking forward to working with this new kid from Compton, Kendrick Lamar”. Kendrick takes Childish Gambino’s “You Know Me” beat and responds with this, clearly showing he’s ready.
ScHoolboy Q - Birds & The Beez (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

Q finally releases “Setbacks”, his first project with TDE. Even with this huge opportunity ahead, Kendrick uses his verse to let Q know how much he supports him.
Just one year after joking that XXL should put him on the Freshman cover, Kendrick makes the 2011 list
After a co-sign from someone as big as Dr. Dre, Kendrick has a lot of pressure on him and a lot to prove. He starts working on his next project, “Section.80”.
Kendrick Lamar - Rigamortus (2011)

“Section.80” is release on July 2, 2011. Going into the project, people had insanely high expectations for Kendrick. He exceeded them by miles with this project.
Kendrick Lamar - HiiiPower (prod. by J. Cole)

Kendrick reached out to his friend from Jay Rock’s XXL shoot for the closing track on the project
Jay Rock - Hood Gone Love It (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

Thanks to Tech N9ne, Jay Rock is finally able to get his debut album, “Follow Me Home” out. Once again, he makes sure Kendrick is on the lead single.
Jay Rock - Say Wassup (ft. Black Hippy) (2011)

In typical Jay Rock fashion, he makes sure his brothers are on his debut album. The team really displays their chemistry on the final verse.
“Follow Me Home” was released about 3 weeks after “Section.80”. Both were phenomenal, critically acclaimed albums. There’s one difference though. “Follow Me Home” does really well for Jay Rock. “Section.80” makes Kendrick an international star.
Passing of the Torch

At a Kendrick show in 2011, LA rap legends Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Kurupt, and The Game crowd the stage. Snoop announces that they’re passing the torch to Kendrick. In a moment where most would be jealous, no one is more proud than Jay Rock.
The Game - The City (2011)

In the previous decade, The Game was the only artist keeping West Coast rap afloat on a national scale. He passes the torch to Kendrick once again. The original version keeps the beat throughout. Game lets Kendrick cut through on the album version.
Birdman & Mack Maine - B Boyz (ft. Kendrick Lamar & Ace Hood) (2011)

Kendrick has a lot of feature requests, and goes on a run of killing every one he decides to do, no matter who it is. He makes sure they promote Rock’s album, not his, during his scene.
Drake - Buried Alive Interlude (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

The biggest feature Kendrick got at the time was for, international megastar, Drake’s sophomore album. Drake would later take Kendrick on his “Club Paradise” tour, along with A$AP Rocky.
ScHoolboy Q - Hands On The Wheel

In April, 2012, ScHoolboy Q teams up with Harlem’s A$AP Rocky for the lead single from his “Habits & Contradictions” album. The songs catapults Q into international stardom.
Kendrick Lamar - The Recipe (ft. Dr. Dre)

Kendrick officially signs with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment, along with Jay Rock and ScHoolboy Q.
Ab-Soul - Terrorist Threats (ft. Jhené Aiko & Danny Brown) (2012)

Soul is the last Black Hippy member to come out since the success of “Section.80” his first single features Danny Brown from Detroit, and former TDE affiliate, Jhene Aiko.
Ab-Soul - Black Lip Bastard Remix (ft Black Hippy)

Soul closes “Control System” by getting the squad together for this fan favorite.
(Part 2)

ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul share a verse
(Part 3)

At this point, Jay Rock is about a year into a long hiatus. Kendrick and Q are becoming huge artists, and he has no interest in using them for their spotlight. He just comes in when they ask for features. He went crazy on “Black Lip Bastard Remix”
While “Control System” didn’t make Ab-Soul as recognizable in the mainstream world as Kendrick and ScHoolboy Q, it did make him one of the biggest underground acts and an internet sensation at the time
Kendrick Lamar - Swimming Pools (2012)

On July 31, 2012, Kendrick releases the first single from his upcoming album, Good Kid m.A.A.d City”. It becomes a radio smash and peaks at number 2 on the Billboard charts.
Kendrick Lamar - Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe (2012)

On October 22, 2012, Kendrick’s debut album is released to rave reviews. The album peaked at number 2 on Billboard and is considered a classic by most. Kendrick is now a superstar.
Kendrick Lamar - Money Trees (ft. Jay Rock)

It’s fitting that the only Black Hippy member on Kendrick’s major label debut would be Jay Rock. Still on hiatus, he delivers a classic verse.
A$AP Rocky - Fuckin’ Problems (ft. 2 Chainz, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar)

Kendrick has a lot of moments of arrival in his career. Shortly after GKMC, he closes out this radio smash that features the biggest rappers out at the time, confirming his place as one of them.
February 28, 2013. ScHoolboy is in the studio working on his upcoming album, “Oxymoron”. The whole TDE team is there with him. They all surprise Kendrick with Jay-Z’s “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe Remix” verse. Jay Rock can’t stop smiling the whole time.
ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul make the 2013 XXL Freshman List. This was the last year the list was really good and a big deal
(Part 2)

Ab-Soul’s verse
Isaiah Rashad - Shot You Down

In 2013, TDE signs Isaiah Rashad. He’s their first artist who isn’t from the LA area.
SZA - Teen Spirit (2013)

Shortly after the Isaiah Rashad signing, TDE signs SZA. An R&B singer from Maplewoood, New Jersey.
Big Sean - Control (ft Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica) (2013)

Big Sean is gearing up to release his second album, “Hall Of Fame”. He throws this song out. Kendrick calls out a list of his peers, and his verse takes on a life of it’s own
Everyone from the rappers mentioned, to Phil Jackson has a response to Kendrick’s verse
2013 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher

TDE gets the call to do the cypher. Jay Rock is two years into his hiatus now. He uses part of his verse to warn rappers not to get out of line when responding to “Control”.
Kendrick’s Verse

Kendrick actually had no intentions to rap in the cypher. He was gonna just introduce it and let his label mates have it. At the end, he just gets up and starts going. It becomes a legendary performance…
ScHoolboy Q - Man Of The Year

On February 5, 2014, ScHoolboy Q drops his second album on Interscope, “Oxymoron”. This album makes Q an even bigger star and proves he can make hits pretty easily.
Kendrick Lamar - King Kunta

After winning 2 Grammy’s for the first single, “i”, Kendrick releases his second major label album, “To Pimp A Butterfly”. Yet another critically acclaimed album with mainstream success.
Kendrick Lamar - Alright (2015)

There are no Black Hippy members featured on the album. They do all make an appearance together at the beginning of this video though.
Jay Rock - Money Trees Deuce (2015)

After four years, the artist who made this all possible is finally back. Jay Rock releases his second album, “90059” on September 11, 2015. TDE fans love it, and it is a great album,but it doesn’t get much mainstream attention.
Jay Rock - Vice City (ft. Black Hippy)

At this point, it’s really hard to get all of Black Hippy in the same place at the same time because of their busy schedules. They make it happen for Jay Rock.
(Part 2)

ScHoolboy Q already has the best verse, but Jay Rock is so selfless, Q gets extra bars in the video version of the song.
2016 Grammy Awards

On a night where Kendrick wins 5 Grammys, he puts on a performance to remember.
(Part 2)

Kendrick brings out U2 and Dave Chappelle during the performance
(Part 3)

I don’t even know, man. This performance was just incredible.
Any night where a musician wins 5 Grammys and puts on one of the better performances in the biggest stage in music’s history has to be the best night of his life, right? There’s only one problem about that night. Jay Rock almost dies in a motorcycle accident.
ScHoolboy Q - THat Part (ft. Kanye West)

Jay Rock has a long road to recovery, as far as injuries, but he’ll be fine. Business continues for TDE. Q can make a hit in his sleep, and he teams up with a music icon for this one.
Isaiah Rashad - Wat’s Wrong (ft. Kendrick Lamar) (2016)

Jay Rock didn’t feel like he was about Kendrick early on, and history repeats itself. Kendrick lends a verse to the younger, and smaller TDE artist for his album, “The Sun’s Tirade”.
(Part 2)

I’m not about to try Isaiah and skip his verse like that. He snapped at the beginning of the song.
Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE. (2017)

On April 14, 2017, Kendrick releases his third album on a major label, “DAMN.”

Kendrick just can’t miss with albums.
Kendrick Lamar - DNA. (2017)

It can be argued that Kendrick is the biggest rapper in the world, at this point in his career. It’s definitely between him and Drake. This video co-stars Academy Award nominated actor, Don Cheadle.
SZA - Love Galore (ft. Travis Scott)

Not long after “DAMN.”, TDE releases SZA’s first full length project. Considered one of the better albums of 2017, “Ctrl” turns SZA into a star.
In 2017, Kendrick is asked to curate the soundtrack for Marvel’s “Black Panther”. It eventually turns into something all of TDE is working on.
Jay Rock - King’s Dead (ft. Kendrick Lamar & Future)

When there’s an opportunity as big as having the lead single to a soundtrack for a movie that highly anticipated, Kendrick looks to the man who gave him so many opportunities early on. It would become Rock’s 1st billboard hit
Jay Rock - WIN (2018)

Jay Rock released his third album, “Redemption” on June 15, 2018. Fourteen years into their journey together, these two have a lot to celebrate. I don’t see it ending any time soon.
Please ignore the typos. I know they’re all over. I really just couldn’t focus
Also, I really wanted to add Kendrick’s BET Awards performance with Beyoncé, but it’s only on Vimeo and you can’t screen record audio on there
It’s not going all the way to the end sometimes. Click the last tweet it shows you to view the rest of that’s the case for you
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