5 Reasons Why Kendrick Lamar Will Still Be A Winner After This Year's Grammys

"It's a statement for the culture."

Even if Kendrick Lamar ever slowed down, he'd still be humble.

The politically conscious rapper received seven Grammy nominations for DAMN.,his fourth studio album that focuses on race, religion, and self-reflection.

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The album was such a hit that at the end of 2017, it found its way to No. 1 and ended up on 17 year-end lists from BBC News to Vulture. But with contenders such as Jay-Z, Lorde, and Bruno Mars in categories such as Album of the Year, it's hard to tell how many awards — if any — Lamar will go home with on January 28.

So why is Lamar a winner even if he doesn't win anything at the Grammys this year? Well, we have a few reasons.

1. He's pushing the envelope for politically conscious rap.

Lamar's music falls under conscious rap, a subgenre of political hip-hop that's both a call for action and activism in itself. His previous albums, good kid, m.A.A.d city and To Pimp a Butterfly, also touch on these elements.

His performance at the 2016 Grammys focused on highlighting the Black Lives Matter Movement and what it's like to be Black in modern society, and is just one example of Lamar's willingness to stand up for his beliefs. In 2015, another politically conscious performance at the BET Awards caught the attention of Fox News. Instead of dwelling on the organization's negative commentary, Lamar went ahead and used soundbites from their discussion on "Blood" and "DNA" for DAMN.

2. He's stepped back to look at the bigger picture of his work.

Like many of his musical predecessors, Lamar's has no problem voicing his opinions. He's also not afraid to credit them for inspiring his music. When he scored 11 Grammy nominations for his album To Pimp a Butterfly in 2015, Lamar told The New York Times that he wanted to win to honor his idols.

"I want all of them," he said. "Because it's not only a statement for myself, but it's a statement for the culture. They're all important because of the foundation the forefathers laid before me. Nas didn't get a chance to be in that position. Pac. So to be acknowledged and to actually win, it's for all of them."

3. He hasn't forgotten about his hometown.

Lamar was born and raised in Compton, Calif. And instead of not returning upon becoming famous, he's made it a point to return. In 2016, Compton awarded Lamar with the key to the city, honoring his music and commitment to giving back to his community.

"We share the same, similar stories," Lamar said in his acceptance speech. "And having this key to the city, it's not just a representation of glorification that 'I have Compton,' it's a representation of all of us. It's a representation of us opening more programs for these kids, opening more job opportunities. That's how I'm looking at it from my plateau."

4. He'll do anything to help a fan.

In 2017, a fan named Jennifer Phillips launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for a modified van to get help her get around because she's a quadriplegic. Phillips has been to every show Lamar has had in Dallas and when she got invited to go backstage at one of his shows in July, she never expected him to donate the money she needed for the van.

"Thank God for you Kendrick and I will continue to pray for you," Phillips said in an Instagram post following their meeting. "And like I said, next time I'm driving myself to your show." 

5. He's constantly trying to improve himself.

In his career so far, Lamar recognizes his status as both a rapper and role model for young fans. But instead of painting himself as a successful rapper with money to spend and fame to exploit, he's taking a realistic route.

It was only in 2015 that he told NPR he acknowledges how mistakes and life experiences have made him who he is, but he still has ways to go before he feels he can truly make a difference.

"I can't change the world until I change myself first," he said.

So we're holding him to that.

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