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The 50 Best Kendrick Lamar Songs

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K. Dot. King Kendrick. Cornrow Kenny. King Kunta. Kung Fu Kenny. Top Dawg Entertainment’s shining beacon of hip-hop greatness has many monikers, but his born name precedes them all - Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick’s a definite fave of ours and a multitude of hip-hop diehards thanks to his masterful wordplay, strong discography, and dedication to reflecting on the social ills of the modern world. When he hops on a track, you can bet that he’ll deliver a bevy of quotables and make you reflect on the serious topics he touches on. His delivery of quality mixtapes, EP’s, and LP’s have made it so hard to hit the skip button - why would you when K. Dot regularly provides incredible bars backed by wonderfully crafted beats? We made sure to revisit all of Kendrick’s projects so we could reflect on the best songs he’s put on each one.

Prepare to build yourself an all-new daily commute playlist as we list the 50 greatest Kendrick Lamar songs of all time.

1. ‘Wanna Be Heard’

A young K. Dot popped up on this joint to deliver some bars about his desire to be placed among the greatest. And he made it clear that he wanted to do that by properly representing the hood he knows so well. “Wanna Be Heard” acts as a brief history lesson that covers Kendrick’s upbringing and his grand ambition as a world-renowned MC. 

2. ‘Far From Here’ (feat. ScHoolboy Q)

Anytime a member of TDE’s Black Hippy crew gets together on a song, magic ensues. And that’s definitely the case here as Kendrick and ScHoolboy Q join forces to lament their many struggles. Times are definitely hard no matter the time or place. Both rappers make those hard times sound so soulful and make it easy to relate as you bump your head extra hard to their heartfelt delivery.

3. ‘Thanksgiving’ (feat. Big Pooh)

This is one of those celebratory records that sounds like Kendrick is in the middle of the Super Bowl celebrating a championship win. The added element of a triumphant Big Pooh verse makes this stadium status banger even better. “Thanksgiving” is quite the bold statement in hip-hop form and we’re glad Kendrick got to be the one to deliver it.

4. ‘P&P 1.5’ (feat. Ab-Soul)

Do you know what will definitely make you feel alright? The two main elements that K. Dot and Ab-Soul rap about on this super chill tune. This is another one of those joints that speak on the ills that constantly trip up both rappers’ lives. By the end of each verse, both MCs make it clear that the only thing that can lift their spirits is the company of a beautiful woman and some good liquor.

5. ‘Barbed Wire’ (feat. Ash Riser)

The instrumental for this one goes extremely hard, which is part of the reason why it’s such a gem. “Barbed Wire” features a K. Dot that stays right in the pocket in the finest way possible. By kicking off every verse with “Have you ever felt like…,” Kendrick delves into a series of questions and events that makes you reflect on everything he’s spitting about on this track in comparison to your life.

6. ‘F**k Your Ethnicity’

This booming introduction to Section.80 makes quite the bold statement with its title. But after it comes to a close, you leave it with a clearer idea of what K. Dot was going for and end up appreciating it even more. It doesn't matter what you represent because Kendrick rocks with you all the same. This tune hits hard and stands out as one of the best hip-hop album starters the genre has ever been treated to.

7. ‘Hol’ Up’

As far as feel-good Kendrick songs go, this one is certainly among the best. What we get here is a braggadocious track that speaks on Kendrick’s many highs and how quickly he’s managed to bypass most of his peers. Listening to him go on about being wise for his young age is also another crucial element of this song’s overall message.

8. ‘A.D.H.D.’

“A.D.H.D.” is a super spacey tune that places your mind, body, and soul onto another plane of existence. Its production makes you feel as if you’re floating through space, while Kendrick’s wonderful wordplay puts you on a natural high. You can’t help but see everything move in slow motion as this chill-inducing tune comes through your loudspeakers.

9. ‘Chapter Six’

The jazzy overtones tied to this one also exude those relaxed vibes a lot of early Kendrick songs live by. While it may not offer a bunch of mind-blowing quotables, “Chapter 6” still puts forth an easy-to-comprehend message that quickly gets stuck in your head. We also hope and pray that a lot of you young heads reading this also make it to 21.

10. ‘Ronald Reagan Era (His Evils)’ (feat. Ash Riser, Ab-Soul, and RZA)

Kendrick goes all out here to make it clear that the individuals that came up in his city had quite a tough upbringing during a tumultuous time in American history. Thanks to the added presence of Ash Rizer’s soulful intro, Ab-Soul’s hilarious callout, and RZA’s unexpected assistance on the chorus, “Ronald Reagen Era (His Evils)” reaches the top of the list for K. Dot’s best songs. You can’t help but feel like you’re riding through Compton looking for trouble when this one comes on.

11. ‘Poe Mans Dreams (His Vice)’ (feat. GLC)

The trials and tribulations of a young street prodigy come into full view here. Kendrick details all the inner thoughts that go through one’s head as one witnesses the ills that come with being raised in a tumultuous environment. But by the time this track wraps up, Kendrick drops a bunch of life lessons for those that went through what he went through and are looking to become a better person.

12. ‘Rigamortis’

The flow that your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper adores is all over this impressive display of fast and furious wordplay. “Rigamortis” is one of those Kendrick tracks that instantly makes it clear just how much of a lyrical threat he is. First-time listeners are usually left in awe once this one wraps up and longtime K.Dot Stans go back to it on the regular. Kendrick leaves several bodies in his wake by the time he brings his super-fast flow to an end.

13. ‘Blow My High (Members Only)’

As soon as this track kicks in, Kendrick blesses us with a few bars from the late great Pimp C. That rousing dedication sets the tone perfectly for “Blow My High (Members Only),” which is a song that sends all the love in the world to Pimp C, Aaliyah, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. The production tied to this track is certainly bop-worthy, while K. Dot’s bars provide a noteworthy dedication to three musical legends.

14. ‘HiiiPower’

Kendrick gets real reflective and provides a whole lot of food for thought on this one. This Section.80 cut is most definitely one of his most powerful contributions to the hip-hop medium - it examines the everyday ills of being a black person trying to thrive in America and mentions the many leaders that fought to help them fight for prosperity. Fighting the system with the words spoken on “HiiiPower” will certainly get anyone amped up in the fight for equality.

15. ‘Sherane aka Master Splinter's Daughter’

The prayer placed at the beginning of this album intro exudes images of a group of young brothers seeking holy refuge from their everyday struggles. And once the beat kicks in, K. Dot tells the story of a young woman that takes him on a wild ride through feelings of puppy love. This song’s breakdown of a young Kendrick pursuing the girl of his dreams is quite an engrossing tale. Shout out to Kendrick for tagging the name of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ master on this song’s clever title.

16. ‘B***h, Don’t Kill My Vibe’

Kendrick isn’t really asking for much here - he simply wants to vibe out without any negative elements disturbing his peace. Getting into an uplifting mood and feeling out everything around you are the sort of themes that come through front and center on this track. K. Dot floats so wonderfully over the soothing soundscape for this track and turns it into a complete vibe setting experience.

17. ‘Backseat Freestyle’

This head banger sounds like Kenny’s pulled up to a cipher to body anyone and everyone in his vicinity. “Backseat Freestyle” is supremely braggadocious and showcases a rare moment of Kendrick talking that fly ish. We’re glad he decided to stop being humble for a moment - this song thrives because of it. We’re betting that a lot of you reading this rapped a few bars to this song’s instrumental in your homie’s ride.  

18. ‘The Art of Peer Pressure’

We’ve all been there before - the homies say anything and everything to make you engage in some illegal activities. And once you’ve decided to heed their advice, you end up on the bad end of your horrible decisions. “The Art of Peer Pressure” provides one of those well-crafted storytelling tunes that Kendrick is most known for. A whole lot of lessons are learned here as K. Dot retells the sort of stories that have become tied to the young, wild, and reckless.

19. ‘Money Trees’ (feat. Jay Rock)

“Money Trees” has so many moments where a concert audience can join in and belt out its lyrics. As soon as the first few notes of this track come on, you and everyone around you will instantly get excited. K. Dot and Jay Rock show off their Black Hippy chemistry with their super chill flow on this one - you can’t help but rap along to this tune as both MCs wax poetics about getting’ to that paper.

20. ‘Poetic Justice’ (feat. Drake)

A Janet Jackson sample. A Kendrick verse that’s dedicated to the ladies. And a quality Drake feature. Those three elements ended up concocting one of the smoothest odes to women K. Dot has ever recorded. Kenny shows off the casanova side of himself here while Drake offers his usual delivery of lyrics that keeps his heartthrob status intact. “Poetic Justice” works so well when the lights are low and the mood is set (if you know what we mean).

21. ‘Good Kid’ (feat. Pharrell)

Coming up in Compton provided a pretty tough upbringing for Kendrick. With the assistance of Pharrell, TDE’s top dog gives listeners a detailed account of the thoughts that run through his head regarding that arduous lifestyle. K. Dot speaks on unfriendly encounters, drug addiction, gang affiliations, and everything in between on this one.

22. ‘m.A.A.d city’ (feat. MC Eiht)

We go from a mellow reflection on Kenny’s life on “Good Kid” to a banger that changes the mood to a chaotic one with “m.A.A.d city.” This song places you smack dab in the middle of some intense gang warfare - Kendrick’s vivid descriptions and ScHoolboy Q’s signature callouts bring you into their tumultuous hometown. The switch-up in the middle of this track makes it even better thanks to a booming 90s Dr. Dre-esque beat and a hard verse from West Coast veteran MC Eiht.

23. ‘Swimming Pools’

The many ills that plague folks that deal with alcoholism can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental attributes. Kendrick touches on that rarely rapped-about topic and delves into the inner monologue that goes through his head when liquor is a part of the equation. As far as hit singles go, this is one of Kendrick's best since it covers a very serious topic and still manages to be a total club/radio banger.

24. ‘Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst’

Three individuals come into the picture on one of Kendrick’s finest examples of past reflections. “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” transports listeners into the life of a troubled youngster, a pissed-off brother of a sister that does whatever she can to get by, and that very same sister. This track produces four chapters full of deep looks at the lives of a group of people whose stories must be told. The way Kendrick wraps up this song by speaking on the people he mentioned beforehand is masterful.

25. ‘Compton’ (feat. Dr. Dre)

You just can’t go wrong with a song that features bars from Kendrick and Dr. Dre. And the added element of some incredible production from Just Blaze is just the perfect cherry on top. “Compton” is an audio tour through one of California's most talked-about locales and excels as the city’s unofficial theme song. It doesn’t get any harder than this collaborative track that brings together two of the West Coast’s hip-hop kings. 

Honorable Mentions

26. ‘The Recipe’ (feat. Dr. Dre)

27. ‘Black Boy Fly’

28. ‘Wesley’s Theory’ (feat. George Clinton & Thundercat)

29. ‘Institutionalized’ (feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Snoop Dogg)

30. ‘These Walls’ (feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat)

31. ‘Alright’

32. ‘For Sale? (Interlude)’

33. ‘Momma’

34. ‘Hood Politics’

35. ‘How Much a Dollar Cost’ (feat. James Fauntleroy & Ronald Isley)

36. ‘Complexion (A Zulu Love)' (feat. Rapsody)

37. ‘The Blacker the Berry’

38. ‘You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said)’

39. ‘I’

40. ‘Mortal Man’

41. ‘DNA.’

42. ‘FEEL.’

43. ‘LOYALTY. (feat. Rihanna)

44. ‘HUMBLE.’

45. ‘LOVE.’ (feat. Zacari)

46. ‘DUCKWORTH.’

47. ‘Untitled 03 | 05.28.2013.’

48. ‘Untitled 08 | 09.06.2014.’

49. ‘All The Stars’ (feat. SZA)

50. ‘Big Shot’ (feat. Travis Scott)

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