Kendrick Lamar vs Future – Who is the voice of our generation?

By Sumit Rehal

Spread The Word

Kendrick Lamar and Future are two of the biggest names in the hip hop game right now despite being musically opposite ends of the spectrum.

Kendrick Lamar has seen himself in the headlines recently for his record breaking Grammy nominations that sees him with 11 potential awards to his #1 album, To Pimp A Butterfly. Despite Kendrick’s triumph and admiration, it was reported that many fans left after Future’s penultimate set at Power 105’s concert in October.

This move left Kendrick performing in front of half empty crowd. This has left us to analyse the market between the two stars and determining who actually has control of the future.

The two rappers have contrasting styles. Future has admitted that he likes to keep his songs simple and catchy so that they’re easy to remember, while Kendrick has emphasised to push the boundary sonically. These examples can be heard on Dirty Sprite 2 and TPAB respectively with the former adhering to a trap sound throughout and the latter varying between jazz, funk and boom bap.

There is a clear market for Future’s sound, which can be heard banging through club speakers all throughout the night and then sticking in clubbers’ ears during the morning after. This lack of versatility however may harm the Southerner’s longevity in the game. Many have come and gone when it comes to trendy sounds for the club. T-Pain would be the first to tell you how his monotone style saw him soar in the charts but disabled him to stay around for the long haul.

Kendrick rivals Future in the same genre but his prime target is not at all the same. The catalyst of the Compton rapper’s success was that he offered a refreshing sound for both hip hop traditionalists and those seeking an alternative to the dominating presence of YMCMB. Kendrick also managed to win over the masses by tweaking Good Kid M.A.A.D City to sound slightly more radio friendly, a move that he totally dropped afterwards with TPAB.

Kendrick received minimal radio play this year compared with Future, who was featured in countless songs with the likes of Drake and Big Sean. This factor explains why many Power 105’s concert attendees left Future’s set early – If all they played on the radio was his music on loop and gave minimal attention to Kendrick’s singles, then many listeners will be eating what they are used to being fed.

Despite the lack of radio play, Kendrick beat the likes of Adele to Rolling Stone’s album of the year and is the only rapper of the last 5 years to be in Billboard’s top ten list. The 28-year old has already affirmed himself as game changer in the history books, that may see Future in the back of with other trend hoppers when written years from now.

In Section 80, Kendrick stated that people claimed that he wants to be the voice of Generation Y. To which he answered “Why lie? I do”. 4 years later we can vouch for that statement to be true with a platinum album and a #1 record later without sacrificing his mission.



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