If you’re a Kendrick Lamar fan, you should be excited that this list can be irrelevant in a few years. With the release of his third studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly, K-Dot silenced any claims that he had peaked too early with good kid, m.A.A.d city for good. By unleashing his second consecutive masterpiece, he’s firmly established himself in the pantheon of all-time great rappers. Simply put, this kid is here to stay.
If you look at the Best Songs lists we made in the past for artists like Jay Z, Eminem, Kanye West, Lil Wayne—the type of artists whose catalogs Kendrick is now jockeying with for pole position as a GOAT contender—there are two important things to note. For one, most of them didn’t hit their pinnacles until well into their careers. Even when they were past their prime, they could still deliver music vital to their catalog. And two, it’s reasonably safe to assume those artists might have already made the best songs they’re ever going to record—their legacies are more or less set in stone.
The latter is not true of Kendrick. After four years in the spotlight, three straight well-received albums, and an earth-shattering guest verse on “Control,” it’s possible Kendrick hasn’t even made his best song yet. That’s why you should be excited. Kendrick is a catalog artist and his journey is only beginning. Debate this list all you want, but rest assured you’ll be debating it for years to come as his story unfolds.
With that being said, here are The 25 Best Kendrick Lamar Songs…so far.