Year In Music 2017

Is Kendrick Lamar the Greatest Rapper of Our Generation? Kehlani, LeBron James & More Weigh In

Kendrick Lamar's status as one of rap's legends was sealed as far back as 2011, when California hip-hop vets like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and The Game passed K. Dot the hip-hop torch live on stage. Fast-forward to 2017, and Lamar's fourth studio album DAMN. went double-platinum, scoring a No. 1 Hot 100 hit with standout track “HUMBLE." and two more in the Top 20 (“LOYALTY.,” “LOVE.”).

But the highest measure of Kendrick's success in 2017 is his peers’ respect. Below, high-profile stars from Lebron James to Ty Dolla $ign sound off on the big question: Is Kendrick Lamar the greatest rapper of our generation?

“He’s my favorite rapper -- he’s able to carry that conscious message but still make music you want to dance to.”
-- Kehlani

“I haven’t stopped listening to [DAMN.] since he sent it to me... His wordplay in his lyrics is unbelievable.”
-- LeBron James, at an NBA post-game press conference

“If we’re talking about right now, it’s Kendrick, easy. Not even close.”
-- Vince Staples, in an interview with KPWR (Power 106) Los Angeles

“To have a song with Kendrick Lamar in this generation is like, back in the days, having a song with 2Pac. It’s legendary.”
-- Zacari, on singing on Kendrick’s “LOVE.”

“Even if I didn't know him, I would still tell you he is, for sure, one of the greatest of our generation. I don’t know who could top him.”
-- Ty Dolla $ign

“Absolutely. Because he has something to say. His metaphors are out of this world. He’s like a Shakespeare. He’s timeless.”
-- Taraji P. Henson

“I definitely think Kendrick is one of the greatest rappers of our time.”
 -- Mary J. Blige?

“He’s a game-changer... He sent me the rap and said, ‘Can you get this down?’ I was like, ‘Are you fucking crazy? Do you know how you rap?’
-- Don Cheadle, on starring in the “DNA.” video

“Kendrick is the greatest of our time, but that doesn't need to be restated by me.”
-- Brother Ali on Twitter


“I believe he has entered the conversation.”
-- Chris Rock, in an interview with WQHT (Hot 97) New York

Billboard Year in Music 2017

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 30 issue of Billboard.