One of the most influential rappers and songwriters of all time, Kendrick Lamar needs no introduction. Known for his socially conscious writing, his music style is highly progressive and speaks to the people. 

A successful name in the hip-hop industry, Lamar has collaborations with many great artists like Rihanna, Dr. Dre, Drake, Snoop Dog, Mac Miller, and Diggy Simmons, to name a few. 

There are thousands of variations of this list, each with different songs on different rankings. None of those are right or wrong; that’s the beauty of it. Keeping that in mind, we’re bringing the top ten Kendrick Lamar songs of all time in no particular order! 


Album: To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

One thing about Kendrick Lamar, he sings about things he thinks the world needs to hear. This includes songs about racism, peer pressure, and societal injustice. 

Sometimes, it includes songs about his life, experiences, struggles, and ideals. So, as you can tell, there’s very little space left for lighter themes. 

However, Alright is a refreshing break from his otherwise motivational and thought-provoking music. It’s still based on serious racist issues in America, but a solid layer of hope is coating his words. 

Nazareth, I’m fucked up
Homie, you fucked up
But if God got us then we gon’ be alright
Nigga, we gon’ be alright

Lamar didn’t know just how big Alright would become. It would go on to be larger than him and To Pimp A Butterfly. It became a beacon of hope for those still struggling; their struggles are coming out to the world. 

Backseat Freestyle

Album: Good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)

Backseat Freestyle is reminiscent of Lamar’s old Compton days when he was sixteen and hung around with his friends all day. 
The song isn’t what he believes or trusts in now, but rather, what he wanted at that time, and the general mindset of kids in today’s society. 

It’s what you would expect: adolescents talking about all they want and all they will achieve one day. They don’t care much about the world: all they see is money, power, and girls.

All my life I want money and power
Respect my mind or die from lead shower
I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower
So I can fuck the world for seventy-two hours

Lamar stated that these lines don’t make much sense; this is just what he would say while he was in a non-judgmental zone with his friends. 


Album: DAMN. (2017) 

DAMN has some of the best songs by Kendrick Lamar, but unfortunately, we cannot mention all of them today. Loyalty, however, deserves a special mention. Featuring our all-time favorite Rihanna, the song is equal parts pop, rock, and funk: what’s there not to like?

As you can already guess, Kung Fu Kenny and Bad Girl RiRi discuss and interrogate the listeners on their loyalty. The song can be rightfully classified as a piece of art, with both rappers going back and forth on what loyalty means and how important it is. 

It’s a secret society,
all we ask is trust,
(All we ask is trust),
all we got is us,
Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty

In the music video, Rihanna and Kendrick test their loyalty to each other in various scenarios.

The Blacker The Berry 

Album: To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

If you’re in the mood for music that’ll make you question and think about how the world is run, The Blacker The Berry is our suggestion. Today, it is an era-defining masterpiece, but in 2015, this song was one of the most controversial releases. 

In the song, Lamar explores the experiences of being an African-American in white America: the stereotypes, judgments, and assumptions. It’s a protest against white Americans trying to shape the black identity. 

The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The darker the flesh the deeper the roots.

The chorus is a metaphor where the black community is referred to as a fruit of slavery, discrimination, and oppression. 


Album: DAMN (2017)

Let’s say you’re hitting the gym or are going out with the boys. There has to be that one playlist on your smartphone full of bangers. We’re here to tell you that DNA deserves to be on top of that playlist! 

In the song, Kendrick talks about all he’s achieved and given up. He talked about his rise to fame, his internal issues, and his childhood memories, all while listing what he’s got in his DNA that has made him so strong. 

Realness, I just kill shit ’cause it’s in my DNA,
got millions, I got riches buildin’ in my DNA,
got dark, I got evil, that rot inside my DNA,
I got off, I got troublesome heart inside my DNA

It’s the perfect song for a confidence boost on a particularly blue day, won’t you agree?

Swimming pools (drank)

Album: Good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)

We’ve all experienced peer pressure at one point in our lives. Think about it, though: the peer pressure in high school to ask out that girl you like is nothing compared to the music industry, right? 

In Swimming pools (drank), Kendrick accurately describes what it was like to hang out with some industry artists. How they pressure you into drinking more, or you’ll be taken for granted as a lightweight. 

Nigga why you babysittin’ only two or three shots?
I’m a show you how to turn it up a notch
First you get a swimming pool full of liquor, then you dive in it.

The song is in a story format: it starts with Kendrick and his homies drinking a bit too much and him trying to get with Sherane. They fool around and stage a drunken robbery, all in the spirit of fun. However, it ends with Dave, one of his friends, dying.

Bitch, don’t kill my vibe 

Album: Good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)

Be honest: we’ve all said this sentence in our minds at social gatherings when that one person pops up. Kendrick Lamar has made this feeling into a song, and needless to say, we can all relate to it. 

The song begins with Lamar confessing that he has sinned and will probably sin again. Religion is a big part of his life, and he doesn’t hide it in his art. He then proceeds to lighter themes, like girls who won’t leave him alone and peers who won’t let him vibe in peace. 

I can feel your energy from two planets away
I got my drink I got my music I would share it but today I’m yelling 
Bitch don’t kill my vibe

The rap, intricate as ever, recounts his mistakes, setbacks, and realizations. Under the cover of a chill song, Bitch, don’t kill my vibe has a much deeper connection to his childhood in Compton. 


Album: DAMN (2017)

HUMBLE is Kendrick Lamar’s official coronation as King of Rap. Among its many accolades, Entertainment Weekly named HUMBLE the song of the year.

The song is a true declaration of where he is and how he got there: through sheer hard work and determination. The song conveys his giddy euphoria when he sees his own success and his anxiety as he hopes it doesn’t get to his head.  
In fact, the chorus is like a true peak into his mind as he repeatedly says to himself:

Bitch, be humble (hol’ up, bitch)
Sit down (hol’ up, lil’, hol’ up, lil’ bitch)
Be humble (hol’ up, bitch)
Sit down (hol’ up, sit down, lil’, sit down, lil’ bitch)

Each verse tells us about what he’s achieved, his success, and the man he is. And each chorus is him asking himself not to become overconfident and remain humble – his anxiety. 

Isn’t that true musical genius? 

In the end

Kendrick Lamar’s music is a world of issues, opinions, regrets, consequences, and ideals. Once you get in, it’s hard not to get immersed and ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask but didn’t know how to frame. 

While there’s no list in this world that can do justice to Kendrick Lamar’s music with only ten slots, we’ve tried our best. If anything is missing, all you need to do is let us know about it in the comments below, and we’ll add it! 

Are you into Drake’s music as well? Then, head here to explore some of his timeless hits now!