Were You Even Surprised By Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 VMA Nominations?

nadeska alexis, mtv.com
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Nominations have been announced for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, which will air on August 30, and Kendrick Lamar is one of the most nominated artists.

K.Dot is up for a few honors, including Video Of The Year and Best Hip Hop Video for “Alright,” and, are you surprised? The Compton rapper has sparked plenty of conversation with his album To Pimp A Butterfly, and he’s continued expanded his reach far beyond hip-hop. Here’s why you probably shouldn’t be shocked by Kendrick’s nominations.

He Sparked Heated Debate With ‘The Blacker The Berry’

Kendrick’s single “The Blacker the Berry” was laced with passionate social and racial commentary, and although he’s one of the loudest voices in hip-hop advocating for the unheard youth in America’s inner city neighborhoods, he faced plenty of backlash for this song. He eventually responded to people who accused him of using “respectability politics,” and most importantly, he sparked an important conversation about race.

Got Us Scratching Our Heads With To Pimp A ButterflyCover Art

The powerful image that was used for Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly cover art was its own conversation starter. And it even prompted us to do a deep dive on what he could’ve possibly meant with that caption about owl poop.

Dropped One Of The Best Albums Of The Year

Too soon to say that? Nah. Kendrick followed up g.o.o.d kid, m.a.a.d. City with another thought-provoking and socially conscious album that takes way more more than a few listens to digest. I wouldn’t be surprised if To Pimp a Butterfly ended up as part of the curriculum in college classrooms soon.

Collaborated With Taylor Swift On ‘Bad Blood’

The beauty of Kendrick Lamar is that even on a huge pop collaboration like Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood,” he manages to delivers excellent rhymes, while captivating an audience that might’ve previously been out of his reach.

Headlined Bonnaroo And Summer Jam

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Want proof that Kendrick’s stock really grew this year? How about the fact that he headlined both Bonnaroo and Hot 97’s annual Summer Jam, meaning that his appeal has reached far beyond the core rap audience, but he hasn’t lost his base either.

Bent Our Minds With His ‘Alright’ Video

The Compton rapper teamed up with director Colin Tilley to create a masterpiece for his “Alright” video, portions of which were shot in New York City. Tilley later gave MTV News the story behind the almost seven-minute long visual, which featured Kendrick doing his own crazy stunts.

He Was Officially Named A Generational Icon

How does that even happen? Well, you need the Senate to bestow this kind of honor on you. In May, K. Dot attended a ceremony at the California State Senate, where he received the 35th Senate District’s Generational Icon Award, for being awesome and supporting his community through music. No big deal.

Got Creative With ’King Kunta’ Video

After unveiling the music video for “King Kunta” in the middle of Times Square, Kendrick also rolled out an Instagram-ready version and then finally premiered it on VeVo.

Used A Sneaker Collaboration To Address Gang Violence

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Nope, of course Kendrick isn’t the first rapper to collaborate on a pair of sneakers, but he’s the only one who used it to try to curb gang violence. His new Reebok Ventilator sneakers are emblazoned with “Blue” on one pair and “Red” on the other in an attempt to unify members of the notorious Crip and Blood gangs in L.A. That’s the power of Kendrick.

The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from L.A.’s Microsoft Theater at 9e/6p, on Sunday, August 30.