Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is the newly crowned ‘King of Rap’ with the highest selling album of 2017 and a huge fanbase that transcends his genre. Despite his success, Kendrick isn’t known for extravagant purchases and excessive bragging, but instead chooses to deliver music with a message and own classic old-school cars. We look at some of Kendrick Lamar’s cars, Kendrick’s net worth, and the automotive references in his three mainstream albums.
After all he is the man who notoriously said... “Girl, I'm Kendrick Lamar...A.K.A. Benz is to me just a car!”
Kendrick Lamar’s First Car
Growing up on the streets of Compton in an era of West Coast rap dominance had a lasting effect on the ‘Humble’ rapper; the ‘Chevy’ Impala and other lowrider American muscle cars were notarised by the likes of 2pac and NWA in the 90's. So, it was no surprise when Kendrick told the story of his father’s ‘92 Cadillac Seville with the Lamborghini suicide doors on as his first ride.
The rapper has even likened his rap style to a ‘87 Regal, “because it’s hard, it has edge, but at the same time it’s a great look, kinda smooth if you ride it the right way.”
Kendrick Lamar's Net Worth: $35 million
Ever wondered 'what is Kendrick Lamar's net worth?' Kendrick’s net worth is around $35 million as of 2017. Rising from around $22 million in 2016 after a wildly successful album and tour, not to mention the numerous multi-million-dollar endorsement deals he has signed.
Despite this, Kendrick does want to own too many expensive cars and be like his idol 2Pac’s car collection. He has fears of becoming materialistic and financially unstable so instead sticks to his roots with classic Cadillacs.
Cars References on ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’
Kendrick’s debut major label album release was 2012’s ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’; the album is a series of vignettes recalling teenage life in a Compton ‘hood, that masterfully explores the inner struggles of a street-laden Lamar. The LP is laced with automotive references, with the ‘short film’ practically set inside a vehicle.
On one version of the album cover Kendrick shows off his mum’s wagon that he used to borrow – a 1996 Chrysler Town & Country (see above). Truly humble beginnings.
The album starts with the rattle, rustle and rotation of a car cassette player on ‘Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter':
“I want to ride like Arabians, push an '04 Mercedes-Benz”
- Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter's Daughter
Kendrick Lamar's Corvette
An explicit picture message from potential girlfriend, Sherane, grabs Kendrick’s attention, causing two BIG distractions:
“I looked at 'em and almost ran my front bumper into Corvette”
- Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter's Daughter
Before Kendrick completes his journey, his answering machine is bombarded by his mother, from which we learn K. Dot is lending his mum’s car “I need to know when you gon' bring back my damn car!” ...that Chrysler Town & Country isn't going to drive itself home!
After crooning on the smooth ‘B**** Don’t Kill My Vibe’ with a 2004 Lincoln Town Car Funeral Coach in the music video, Kendrick is urged to hurry up and get in his friend’s car: “Aye, K-Dot, get in the car. Come on, we finna roll out! I got a pack of blacks and a beat CD, Get yo' freestyles ready!”
There isn’t a more motor orientated tune on the whole album than 'Backseat Freestyle'– this is Kendrick going hard over an insane Hit-Boy beat in the back of his friend’s Toyota, picturing everything he dreams about owning:
“Start up that Maserati and vroom-vroom, I'm racing!”
- Backseat Freestyle
The journey continues on ‘The Art of Peer Pressure’, but the freestyling fun has stopped now as the beat switches and takes an eerie turn:
“Me and my dudes four deep in a white Toyota,
A quarter tank of gas, one pistol, and orange soda”
- The Art of Peer Pressure
On the musical ode to dollars, ‘Money Trees’, the rapper speaks about his backseat rapping and how riding around in their car all day is all they have; highlighting the importance to Kendrick of having his car as an escape route growing up: “Park the car, then we start rhymin', ya bish? The only thing we had to free our mind!”
On ‘Poetic Justice’ Kendrick speaks to a woman and laughs about how her and her girlfriends ride around the city in a Range Rover gossiping about him:
“You called up your girlfriends,
And y'all curled in that little bitty Range”
- The Art of Peer Pressure
In a moment realisation of how dangerous the 'm.A.A.d city' of Compton is, he recalls a stolen car crash incident that makes him question his own life. Was he in the crash or was it his friend’s white Toyota? “Reality struck, I seen the white car crash, Hit the light pole, two men hopped out on foot and dashed”
Through ‘I'm Dying of Thirst’, Kendrick reminisces on gang culture and how the Buick was a popular ride for the gangs:
“Back of the Buick, your hood is feudin'”
- I'm Dying of Thirst
Car References on ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’
‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, is regarded as one of the most influential hip-hop albums of all time. It was immortalised in Harvard University’s library because of its historical significance in American Society. A true work of art. The potent message within the tracks meant that Kendrick didn’t obsess over motors as much as in previous works, but there are still some vintage automotive lines.
The first verse of the album opener ‘Wesley’s Theory’ sparks a vicious flow as Kendrick retrospectively declares his intentions for when he is signed:
“When I get signed, homie, I'ma act a fool….
I'ma buy a brand new Caddy on fours
Trunk the hood up, two times, deuce-four”
- Wesley's Theory
He then asks the listener, “what you want you? A house or a car?” as he delves into the pits of consumerism:
“You really think we could make a baby named You really think we could make a baby named Mercedes?
Without a Mercedes-Benz and twenty-four inch rims
Five percent tint, and air conditioning vents?
- For Free?
Kendrick says won’t start a family before he is financially stable and definitely won’t pursue girls who look to name their babies after cars they can’t afford! “Couldn’t afford a car so she named her daughter Alexis!” (thanks Kanye.)
From 'King Kunta' Kendrick is in the stretch: “Limo tinted with the gold plates”
On the powerful, ‘Institutionalised’ the Compton MC spits:
“If I was the president, I'd pay my mama's rent,
Free my homies and them, Bulletproof my Chevy doors!”
On the catchy mid-album cut, ‘Alright’, Kendrick couldn’t resist getting his front seat freestyle on while delivering a poignant, powerful message. There are numerous shots of police cars in the music video and Kendrick even performed on the roof of one at the BET Awards! The 1960 Chevrolet Corvair in the video isn’t being driven… but carried by four white police officers.
“Twenty of 'em in my Chevy, tell 'em all to come and get me”
He then lets his ‘homies’ do donuts in a 2010 Z28 Chevrolet Camaro around a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria police car. We also see a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro and a 2015 Dodge Charger.
Kendrick Lamar's Cadillac's
On ‘Hood Politics’ Kendrick's Caddy is back: “Hopped out the Caddy…”
In the music video to ‘I’ Kendrick can be seen in a 1990 Cadillac Brougham and a 1970 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. The Brougham got its name from British statesman Henry Brougham, who designed the car’s body style to be similar to a carriage without a horse. The 1990 Brougham featured a 5.0-litre V8 engine and a four-speed automatic transmission.
Car References on Kendrick Lamar's DAMN album
The biggest selling album of 2017 so far, DAMN, has cemented Kendrick Lamar’s place as an all-time great. We take a look at Kendrick’s cars on the album:
The song 'DNA' gives a sonic boom to the listener’s ears, disrupting the chilled aura and K Dot is back behind a wheel:
“Yeah, that’s him again, the sound that engine in is like a bird
You see fireworks and Corvette tire skrrt the boulevard”
Bird/Corvette, see what he did there? ‘YAH’ we did. The double entendre on track 3 about a red Aston Martin’s illegal parking is smooth:
“I double parked the Aston in the red”
On the Rihanna assisted ‘Loyalty’ we see another double meaning bar: “Gas in the b**** like it’s premium,” the R’n’B singer croons, but ‘Bad Girl RiRi’ isn’t talking about petrol or premium unleaded. The chorus is also full of auto mentions: switching lanes, shifting, riding etc Kendrick’s car love is in full swing again.
Kendrick continues on ‘Loyalty’ asking if people who love him still will if the Ferrari is broke or he loses it all:
“Is it love for the streets when the lights get dark?
Is it unconditional when the 'Rari don't start?”
On the hit single, ‘Humble’, after telling everyone to ‘SIT DOWN!’ Kendrick gives German car makers some love:
“If I quit your BM, I still ride Mercedes, funk”
In Humble’s music video, he tees a golf ball off an abandoned car roof and screams: “My left stroke just went Viral!”
Kendrick says he’s “feelin' like Tyson with it” and after we looked at the cars of Mike Tyson, we can definitely see the similarities.
His fears of losing all he has attained, MC Hammer style, keeps Kendrick awake at night and keeps him stringent with his money. Even with Kendrick Lamar’s net worth of over $35 million, he still won’t buy a Lexus, which was a symbol of status with rappers in the mid-90s:
The final track on the album, ‘Duckworth’ is Kendrick at his storytelling best; we’ve learnt if Mr Duckworth is telling tales, there are cars involved somewhere. His drug dealing friend hits the big time in the drug game he has the best car on the block:
“The first in the projects with the two-tone Mustang, that 5.0 thing, they say 5-0 came."
Kendrick juxtaposes this with the term “5-0” which refers to the police. His friend Top Dawg’s obnoxiously loud car, a Ford Mustang 5.0, draws attention to him from the police. Ford introduced two-tone factory paint when they updated the Mustang body style in the 1987 model, which was released to the market in 1986.
Kendrick’s Dad’s Car
On the DAMN album we meet Kendrick’s dad and learn he was pushing a Caddy: “Cadillac Seville, he'd ride his son around on weekends”
Kendrick’s Sister’s Car
For her graduation in 2017, Kendrick bought his little sister a Toyota Camry, that she shared with the world on Instagram. A reliable motor and a very humble first car for the sister of a multi-millionaire!
We’re sure there are more that we missed, without even scratching the surface of his numerous mixtapes like Section .80 and Untitled Unmastered and all his song features!