Dr. Dre presented Kendrick Lamar with the ASCAP Vanguard Award at the 26th annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California yesterday (May 27). ASCAP, The American Society Of Composers, Authors and Publishers, says on its website that the ASCAP Vanguard Award is, “Awarded in recognition of the impact of new and developing musical genres, which help shape the future of music.” The only other Rap act to win the award were the Beastie Boys in 1999.
Last year, Dr. Dre released Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, through his Aftermath Entertainment and in conjunction with Intersocpe Records and Top Dawg Entertainment. The collection, which was certified gold in December, included the hits “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Swimming Pools (Drank).” The latter was certified platinum in January.
“When I decide to work with an artist, that means I’ve heard or seen something special, something unique, something different and ahead of the trends and Kendrick Lamar has my full attention,” Dr. Dre said at the event last night. “Now what could be better than not only finding an artist that is this talented, but one who grew up in Compton and also went to the same high school that I did. Centennial, by the way. In the same tradition as other emcees that came before him, Kendrick writes about what he sees going on in his world. But unlike other emcees, he approaches his music with vulnerability, humility and expresses the truth about himself and his generation, and the generation of people that connect [to] his story. The fact that good kid, m.A.A.d. city sold more copies than any other debut album last year is proof that his fans believe in him the way I do.”
Dr. Dre became a national Rap figure in the late 1980s through his work as a producer and rapper for N.W.A, some of whose members were from Compton. The group titled its 1988 album Straight Outta Compton. Since then, Dr. Dre has also worked with fellow Compton rapper Game and appeared on good kid, m.A.A.d. city cut “Compton” and on the song “The Recipe,” a bonus track on the album. Kendrick Lamar also featured fellow Compton rapper MC Eiht on good kid, m.A.A.d. city cut “m.A.A.d. city.”
Dr. Dre also said at the event that Kendrick Lamar is a noteworthy artist, on many levels. “Kendrick Lamar is a class act,” Dr. Dre said. “I’m proud to know him. I’m proud to work with him and he is an important part of the new generation of Hip Hop and is definitely continuing the legacy of Compton. Believe me.”
Kendrick Lamar did not speak after accepting his award from Dr. Dre.