One of his best songs, “Alright,” was adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement as an informal anthem; sing-alongs erupted at rallies and protests across the country.

“Alright” somehow manages to sound carefree yet urgent, like a radio jingle perforated by drum fills.

“We gon’ be alright.” He sounded like a prophet, capable of articulating what people in the streets desired but couldn’t put into words.

At the 2016 Grammys, he began his performance as part of a chain gang.

While in high school, he began recording mixtapes, which caught the attention of a local manager named Anthony (Top Dawg) Tiffith.

The songs on that album communicated Lamar’s ambivalence about his sudden fame, particularly at a moment when the nascent Black Lives Matter movement was casting light on all the young people, growing up just as he had, who would never see their twenties.

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