Lamar is an unlikely star: a storyteller, not a braggart or punch-line rapper, setting spiritual yearnings and moral dilemmas against a backdrop of gang violence and police brutality.
On their combative, compulsively dance-y 1979 debut album, Entertainment!, Gill's fractured rhythm guitar shreds chords and roars anti-solos as Allen's funk bass supplies melody and Burnham rocks steady.
Four pouty kids from South London, barely out of their teens, the xx see nothing wrong with playing Timbaland or Jam and Lewis-style R&B with an indie band's chops.
Get Rich or Die Tryin' is so full of life, it makes you hope the only bullets 50 will need to fire from now on are metaphorical.
For Emma, Forever Ago never turns into a pity party, because Vernon has a light touch, with zero interest in narrative or confessional lyrics.