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From a buzz-worthy rap rookie to now being dubbed a hip-hop heavy-hitter, Kendrick Lamar is making a dent in the music biz and American pop culture. So it makes complete sense why he nabbed the “Rapper of the Year” title in GQ‘s 2013 “Men of the Year” issue.

Named to be “the latest—and possibly greatest—rapper to come straight outta Compton,” Kendrick Lamar has earned the title as GQ magazine’s “Rapper of the Year.” Ditching his typical get-up of a snapback, button-down shirt, jeans and Chuck Taylors, photographer Sebastian Kim takes a trip to the history-making era of the 1960s and captures Kendrick’s gentleman side. Seeming to point to his fast track to stardom with visuals inspired by Motown, it’s cool to see the emcee in a dapper kind of look, as he sports tailored suits, wingtip shoes, and graphic shirts with ties.



Ever since he spit those controversial, punch line-heavy bars on Big Sean’s “Control” and slayed nearly every rapper who thought they had something going in hip-hop–including Drake, A$AP Rocky, J.Cole and Big Sean himself— Kendrick has proved worthy of rocking the crown he snatched out of the reach of his peers. And now that he’s the front man of Kanye West’s Yeezus tour, his growing sense of glory in the rap game is showing no signs of dimming. Aside from spitting witty rhymes that hit like an assassin’s shot to the chest, the 26-year-old artist is most respected for his consciousness-infused, storytelling style that reminds us of West Coast icons like Tupac, Dre and Ice Cube. The surprising success of his second studio album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, gave us all an insight into the perspective of a “nerdy Compton teenager K.Dot and his homeys as they run around in his mom’s minivan chasing ‘that crazy-ass girl Sherane'” and having to deal with the realities that living in a gang-infused neighborhood brings. “It wasn’t just about money, hos, clothes, drinkin’,” he explains to GQ freelance writer, Steve Marsh. “I mean, I come from that world, but at the same time, I started to realize that there’s people out there that can’t really connect to that lifestyle. They’re in the struggle.”




The “Man of the Year” issue is now available on newsstands, but you can read Kendrick’s full interview here. Peep some behind-the-scenes footage of Kendrick’s GQ shoot plus a freestyle from the emcee in the video below!

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