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A desk with various objects on it. These includes books, a bible, a medicine container containing medical cannabis, bullets, a pipe, money, lipstick, a lamp, a lighter, and used marijuana rolls. A large paper reads "KENDRICK LAMAR" with his last name written in bold letters. Another brochure reads "SECTION 80" with the number 80 written in bold letters. The record label's logo is placed on the bottom left.
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 2, 2011 (2011-07-02)
StudioTop Dawg, Carson, California
Kendrick Lamar chronology
Overly Dedicated
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
Singles from Section.80
  1. "HiiiPoWeR"
    Released: April 12, 2011[1]

Section.80 is the debut studio album by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was released on July 2, 2011, by Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). In the years leading up to its release, Lamar previously produced various mixtapes under the moniker K.Dot. In 2010, Lamar released Overly Dedicated, his fourth solo mixtape. Shortly after its release, he began working on Section.80.

The production of Section.80 was mainly handled by TDE in-house producers from production group Digi+Phonics, as well as THC, Tommy Black, Wyldfyer, Terrace Martin and J. Cole. A concept album, it features lyrical themes delivered by Lamar such as the 1980s crack epidemic, racism and the medication tolerance of Generation Y. The album features guest appearances from GLC, Colin Munroe, Ashtrobot, BJ the Chicago Kid, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and vocals from late singer-songwriter Alori Joh.

Section.80 received generally positive reviews from critics upon its release. The album debuted at number 113 on the US Billboard 200 and as of February 2014, it has sold 130,000 copies domestically. In April 2017, it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).


Prior to the album's release, Kendrick Lamar released various mixtapes under the K.Dot moniker. The first of these mixtapes, titled Youngest Head Nigga in Charge, landed Lamar a recording contract with Top Dawg Entertainment.[2] Through Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar would release four mixtapes, including Overly Dedicated. Lamar felt compelled to create the album after seeing a friend of his go to jail for twenty-five years and experiencing the pain of such an event.[3]


Lamar began working on the album sometime in January 2011.[4] The album was recorded at Top Dawg Studios in Carson, California. Most of the album was written in Lamar's mother's kitchen and his tour bus.[4][5] While recording the album, Lamar wished for it to be "as organic as possible,"[3] at times leaving songs unfinished for extended periods of time.[3]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Musically, Section.80 is a conscious hip hop[6] and alternative rap[7] record with "stripped-down" jazz production.[8] Its tracks contain additional elements of pop,[9] boom bap,[10] R&B,[10] and "funky ventures" into southern hip hop.[10] Lyrically, Section.80 is a concept album that dwells on a variety of subjects, such as the 1980s crack epidemic, medication tolerance, racism, and presidency of Ronald Reagan. Lamar has stated that he created the album to discuss his generation.[3]


Several songs on Section.80 revolve around two women, Tammy and Keisha, and their personal hardships.[11] "Tammy's Song (Her Evils)" revolves around two girls cheating on their boyfriends after discovering they were unfaithful, and eventually sleeping with each other because they can't trust men; "Keisha's Song (Her Pain)" is about a prostitute who seeks comfort and control, only to her demise.[12]

On "A.D.H.D", Lamar addresses "getting fucked up, going to parties, and just being carefree,"[3] while "Kush & Corinthians" notes that justice and morals are rarely cut and dried.[13] The album's lead single and final song, "HiiiPoWeR", explains the "HiiiPoWeR" movement promoted by Lamar and his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates.[14] The song came from Lamar's interactions with fellow rapper J. Cole and TDE president Punch.[4]

The song "Ronald Reagan Era" features uncredited vocal recordings by RZA, which Lamar mentions in an interview with Complex in 2011 were orchestrated by DJ Fricktion from London, who at the time was working with RZA on various records.[4]

Marketing and sales[edit]

Section.80 was released on July 2, 2011.[15] In its first week, the album sold 5,000 copies in the United States and debuted at number 113 on the US Billboard 200, with minimal mainstream media promotion and coverage. Within a two-week period, the album sold a total of 9,000 copies in the United States,[16][17][18] and as of February 2014, the album has sold 130,000 copies domestically.[19] On April 14, 2017, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for combined sales and album-equivalent units of over 500,000 units.[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Beats Per Minute90%[23]
Entertainment WeeklyB[24]
MSN Music (Expert Witness)B+[26]
Tom Hull – on the WebB+ ((2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention))[28]

Section.80 was met with generally positive reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from professional publications, the album received an average score of 80, based on 11 reviews.[21]

Andres Tardio of HipHopDX praised the album, writing that Lamar "may have been searching for answers, but that journey allowed him to find out of this year's most outstanding albums with Section.80."[25] Reviewing the album for Pitchfork, Tom Breihan believed that, "self-serious flaws and all, Section.80 still stands as a powerful document of a tremendously promising young guy figuring out his voice."[9] In the opinion of XXL journalist Adam Fleischer, the record reveals "its author's brain is neither lost nor useless, as he weaves together carefully constructed thoughts before spewing raps on each of the project's 16 tracks, ensuring nothing is disposable or without purpose."[8] David Amidon from PopMatters compared Lamar to an Ice Cube early in his career, as "he's only telling us what he sees, and while he might not offer solutions as often as [Ice Cube] did, he's certainly able to paint us vivid a picture."[6] Tom Hull said Lamar "runs a song about 'niggas and ho's' so far into the ground he can raise a flagpole in top of it, but also recalls the evils of the Reagan Era, which is pretty good for a guy who was just born as Iran-Contra piled up."[28]

Pitchfork placed the album at number 45 on its list of the "Top 50 albums of 2011".[29] Complex named the album the 7th best album of 2011.[30] In honor of Section.80's fifth anniversary, Forbes columnist Ogden Payne wrote an article explaining how the album had propelled Lamar into "hip-hop royalty," deeming it "the genesis to Kendrick Lamar successfully balancing social commentary with mass appeal, while simultaneously laying the foundation for his label as King Kendrick."[31] NME placed the album at number three on their list of "101 Albums To Hear Before You Die" in 2014.[32]

Track listing[edit]

Songwriting credits adapted from BMI and ASCAP.[33][34]

Section.80 track listing
1."Fuck Your Ethnicity"THC3:44
2."Hol' Up"
4."No Make-Up (Her Vice)" (featuring Colin Munroe)
  • Duckworth
  • Spears
  • Colin Munroe
5."Tammy's Song (Her Evils)"
6."Chapter Six"Tommy Black2:41
7."Ronald Reagan Era (His Evils)"
Tae Beast3:36
8."Poe Mans Dreams (His Vice)" (featuring GLC)
Willie B4:21
9."The Spiteful Chant" (featuring Schoolboy Q)
10."Chapter Ten"
  • Duckworth
  • Riera
  • Morgan
11."Keisha's Song (Her Pain)" (featuring Ashtrobot)
  • Duckworth
  • Perkins
Tae Beast3:47
  • Willie B
  • Sounwave[a]
13."Kush & Corinthians (His Pain)" (featuring BJ the Chicago Kid)
14."Blow My High (Members Only)"Tommy Black3:35
15."Ab-Soul's Outro" (featuring Ab-Soul)Martin5:50
J. Cole4:39
Total length:59:44


  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • "A.D.H.D" contains additional vocals from Ab-Soul
  • "HiiiPoWer" contains additional vocals from Alori Joh


Credits are adapted from AllMusic.[35]



Certifications for Section.80
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] Silver 60,000
United States (RIAA)[20] Gold 500,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "HiiiPoWer – Single by Kendrick Lamar". iTunes Store. April 12, 2011. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  2. ^ Graham, Nadine (January 6, 2011). "Kendrick Lamar: The West Coast Got Somethin' To Say". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e Ramirez, Erika (September 2, 2011). "Kendrick Lamar Talks 'Section.80,' New Album and Upcoming Videos". Billboard. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Ahmed, Insanul; Michels, Eric (August 1, 2011). "Interview: Kendrick Lamar Talks "Section.80," Major Labels, & Working With Dr. Dre". Complex. Archived from the original on January 7, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2013.
  5. ^ "Kendrick Lamar". Interview. July 12, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Amidon, David (August 16, 2011). "Kendrick Lamar: Section.80". PopMatters. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  7. ^ Breihan, Tom (July 2, 2021). "Kendrick Lamar 'Section.80' Review: Looking Back 10 Years Later". Stereogum. Archived from the original on October 31, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2023. Musically, Section.80 worked in a grand tradition of searching, expressive West Coast alterna-rap.
  8. ^ a b c Fleischer, Adam (July 5, 2011). "Kendrick Lamar, Section.80". XXL. Archived from the original on August 20, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Breihan, Tom (July 21, 2011). "Kendrick Lamar: Section.80". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on January 14, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Leight, Elias (November 13, 2021). "Kendrick Lamar Celebrates 'Section.80' During Casually Dazzling Day N Vegas Set". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  11. ^ kvosber (September 13, 2020). "Classic Review: Section.80 by Kendrick Lamar". WKNC-FM. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  12. ^ Dukes, Will (November 9, 2021). ""Keisha's Song (Her Pain)," feat. Ashtrobot (2011)". Rolling Stone Australia. Archived from the original on September 30, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  13. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Releases 'Ronald Reagan Era', Fans Buzzing". MTV. June 20, 2011. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  14. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Speaks on the Meaning Behind "HiiiPoWeR," Working With J. Cole". July 1, 2010. Archived from the original on October 23, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  15. ^ "Section.80 – Album by Kendrick Lamar". Apple Music. Archived from the original on May 18, 2022. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  16. ^ "Album Charts: Beyonce Earns Fourth #1 Album With '4', Big Sean Debuts At #3". July 7, 2011. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  17. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 7/3/2011". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  18. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 7/10/2011". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  19. ^ "Top Dawg's Kendrick Lamar & ScHoolboy Q Cover Story: Enter the House of Pain". Billboard. February 28, 2014. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  20. ^ a b "American album certifications – Kendrick Lamar – Section.80". Recording Industry Association of America.
  21. ^ a b "Reviews for Section.80 by Kendrick Lamar". Metacritic. Archived from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  22. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Section.80 – Kendrick Lemar". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 23, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  23. ^ McMullen, Chase (July 12, 2011). "Album Review: Kendrick Lamar – Section.80". Beats Per Minute. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  24. ^ Anderson, Kyle; Maerz, Melissa; Wood, Mikael; Wete, Brad (July 29, 2011). "Albums: Aug. 5, 2011". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 14, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  25. ^ a b Tardio, Andres (July 6, 2011). "Kendrick Lamar – Section.80". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  26. ^ Christgau, Robert (August 27, 2012). "Ab-Soul/Kendrick Lamar". MSN Music. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  27. ^ Baber, Mike (July 19, 2011). "Kendrick Lamar :: Section.80". RapReviews. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  28. ^ a b Hull, Tom (September 6, 2011). "Rhapsody Streamnotes". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  29. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 50 Albums of 2011". Pitchfork. December 15, 2011. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  30. ^ "The 25 Best Albums of 2011". Complex. December 19, 2011. Archived from the original on April 2, 2016.
  31. ^ Payne, Ogden (July 2, 2016). "How Kendrick Lamar's 'Section.80' Catapulted Him into Hip-Hop Royalty". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 3, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  32. ^ "101 Albums To Hear Before You Die". NME. May 7, 2014. Archived from the original on May 11, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  33. ^ "BMI | Repertoire Search". BMI. Select "TITLE", type "Song" in the search engine, and click "Search". Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  34. ^ "ACE Repertory". ASCAP. Select "TITLE", type "Song" in the search engine, and click "Search". Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  35. ^ "Section.80 – Kendrick Lamar". AllMusic. Credits. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  36. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  37. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  38. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 2012". Billboard. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  39. ^ "British album certifications – Kendrick Lamar – Section 80". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 2, 2023.

External links[edit]