Last year, when Kendrick Lamar was getting set to release his independent album Section.80, he was unsure whether fans would actually want to buy it. Now, he's sitting pretty with a certified gold album.
"It's crazy man, you think about the first time you actually start rapping," Kendrick told MTV News of good Kid, m.A.A.d city's success moments before he took the stage at Cali Christmas in Los Angeles. "That's what I think about every time I hear that, knowing how far I've got with it to actually have your own album in your hands and it's certified gold. It's a crazy feeling; it's a surreal moment in time that I'm in right now."
Back when he went by the name K-Dot, Lamar built a small but dedicated fanbase by releasing a number of free mixtapes. When he decided to switch his moniker and go by his birth name in 2009, the Compton, California rapper dropped Kendrick Lamar EP for free online and then Overly Dedicated a year later. By the time 2011 rolled around, Dot and his TDE label decided to test the market and drop Section.80 as an independent retail release.
"It was something that I had to understand, that my company had to make me understand. I'm putting out this free music, constantly putting it out," he told us back in July 2011. "My whole thing is bringing music back to where people actually buy it, but at the same time, you know what? I don't think I'm ready yet to start selling my project because I feel the world don't know me yet."
Section.80 didn't really dent the SoundScan, but it was critically acclaimed and help whet the public's appetite for good kid. The strategy clearly paid off, because approximately half a million folks went out to support Lamar's major label debut after it dropped in October, yet Kendrick and TDE's approach to music is still fueled by their independent hustle.
"You know when I put out my first EP," he said. "Didn't have no funding behind it, no budget, so the success is really just banking off the music and not depending on everybody else's resources that you see, and really just goin' out there and doin' it yourself."
Are you planning to purchase Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city? Let us know in the comments!