Everybody put three fingers in the air
The sky is falling, the wind is calling
Stand for something or die in the morning
Section 80, HiiiPower
— Kendrick Lamar - 'HiiiPoWeR'
Rappers Similar to Kendrick Lamar
When making an attempt to describe Kendrick Lamar's style, there is no one word to properly illustrate the aspects of Kendrick's style, flow, and techniques.
The Top Dawg Entertainment emcee made a rapid transition from being a revered underground artist to near super-stardom, and he handled it like a leader.
Dominant Elements of Kendrick Lamar's Rapping Method
- Meaningful content
- Alternating styles
- Variety of moods
- Powerful visuals
Black Hippy is a hip-hop super-group from Los Angeles, California. The rap collective consists of Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, ScHoolboy Q, and Kendrick Lamar.
They are all unique artists with a variety of flows, styles, and talents—a rap crew would sound terrible if there were no similarities between the members.
Their functionality together as a unit or even in pairs makes them one of the most dynamic four-man hip-hop groups in the history of the genre.
Top Dawg Entertainment
If you have only listened to Kendrick and not the rest of his Top Dawg label-mates, you are definitely missing out. Even if you don't enjoy one in particular, you're bound to enjoy another.
Try listening to songs by Kendrick that feature ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, or any combination of the three. If you like them, listen to some others!
Isaiah Rashad has some wonderful music as well. Let's start with who I consider to be the most complex and underrated rapper in the crew.
Ab-Soul, like the rest of his label-mates, seems to fit on songs with a variety of themes and tempos. Ab-Soul seems to do his best on slower tracks that allow him to speak clearly. His lyrical content is often very witty. An Ab-Soul track can take a few listens to truly decipher correctly.
Still, anywhere from a party song, to a battle rap type track, to a heart-wrenching emotional record—"Soul Brotha #2" kills it.
His storytelling ability is also very excellent, and a large vocabulary helps him tell the story in the best manner possible.
What he seems to excel at is rhyming over smooth tracks with meaningful verses and subject matter that many can relate to.
This is where he and Kendrick share one of their closest attributes.
Like Kendrick, Soulo has a solid catalog; producing quality rather than quantity.
Control System was one of the best albums of the 2010s.
Ab-Soul Recommended Listening
- Pass The Blunt Featuring ScHoolboy Q
- illuminate Featuring Kendrick Lamar
- Nothing's Something
- Picture That Featuring JaVonte
- Tree Of Life
- Passion Featuring Alori Joh
- Double Standards
- Turn Me Up Featuring Kendrick Lamar
- Stigmata Featuring Action Bronson & Asaad
2. ScHoolboy Q
Q says that he admired Jay-Z for his ability to always come with a new style.
Q has definitely mirrored that skill, as he comes with different rhyme schemes and flows for different songs (more than the average MC.)
He excels at high-tempo party songs, more aggressive "gangsta rap", storytelling raps, and more.
This doesn't mean he can't whip up a tear-jerker here and there, but he seemed to have found a niche that worked out for him in his transition to mainstream rap.
ScHoolboy Q Recommended Listening
- THere He Go
- Man of the Year
- Druggys Wit Hoes Featuring Ab-Soul
- Hands on the Wheel Featuring A$AP Rocky
- LigHt Years AHead Featuring Kendrick Lamar
- To The Beat (F'd Up)
- What They Want Featuring 2 Chainz
- Birdz And The Beez Featuring Kendrick Lamar
- Brand New GuyFeaturing A$AP Rocky
3. Jay Rock
The first of TDE to hit a wide audience, he rose to fame in 2009 with a song called "All My Life (In the Ghetto)," featuring Lil' Wayne & will.I.am.
Soon after he was announced to be a member of the XXL Freshman Class of 2010. Later that same year he signed with Strange Music, a move that was vital in Kendricks's rise to fame.
He specializes in hardcore rap, being a former gang member from Watts, CA.
Like the previous three members, he can craft a song that will provoke thought by painting vivid pictures with his words.
Jay Rock Recommended Listening
- No Joke Featuring Ab-Soul
- Pay For It Featuring Kendrick Lamar & Chantal
- M.O.N.E.Y. Featuring J. Black
- Dollars Make Sense Featuring Glasses Malone
- Get On Your S**t
- Roll On Featuring Kendrick Lamar & Major James
4. Isaiah Rashad
We can expect some material from Isaiah and Kendrick in the near future.
He is similar to Kendrick in too many ways.
The only time we saw them perform together was during the Top Dawg Entertainment segment of the BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher, and neither MC looked too shabby.
Isaiah Rashad Recommended Listening
- R.I.P. Kevin Miller
- Heavenly Father
- Shot You Down Featuring ScHoolboy Q & Jay Rock
- Menthol Featuring Jean Deaux
- Hii (F**k Love)
5. J. Cole
J. Cole and Kendrick have similar subject matter, are both conscious, very lyrical, and are two of the most popular in the rap game today.
The two have worked together a few times in the past. At one point in time, they were even hinting at a collaboration joint.
A Kendrick Lamar & J. Cole collaboration project would have been incredibly mind-blowing; that's just putting it lightly.
J. Cole, much like Kendrick Lamar, is one of the leaders in this new generation of rappers and should be making music for a long time.
J. Cole: Recommended Listening
- No Role Modelz
- Rich Niggaz
- Ain't That Some S**t
- Power Trip Featuring Miguel
- Can I Live
- Losing My Balance
6. Big K.R.I.T.
Big K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar are two of the realest artists to emerge in the 2010s.
It is unfortunate that they haven't collaborated more; something that could be even less likely now after the infamous Control fiasco.
If you haven't already, check out K.R.I.T.
It will be worth your time, trust me.
Big K.R.I.T. Recommended Listening
- Mt. Olympus
- As Small As A Giant
- What U Mean Featuring Ludacris
- Lac Lac Featuring A$AP Ferg
- 2000 & Beyond
- American Rapstar
- Wolf On Wallstreet
7. Pusha T
Pusha T has made classics.
Time will tell if Kendrick's albums will be considered classics.
Either way, both of these dudes have all the elements of a true MC and have made a lasting impact on the rap game.
King Push is a veteran at this point in the game; his longevity in the rap scene both with Clipse and as a solo artist should prove that he makes music that people enjoy.
Check him out!
Pusha T Recommended Listening
- Sweet Serenade Featuring Chris Brown
- Lunch Money
- Raid Featuring 50 Cent & Pharrell Williams
- King Push
- Tick Tock Featuring Joell Ortiz, Raekwon, & Danny Brown
- Numbers On The Boards
Tristan from Indiana on September 14, 2015:
Solid list. I would say that King Los is similar, as well. He has some similar flows to Kendrick, very good lyricism, and sometimes just kinda sounds the same.