Kendrick Lamar likes to compare himself to Tupac Shakur. But Tupac wasn’t from Los Angeles and didn’t know his father growing up. By the time Tupac was 23, he had already been shot multiple times and begun serving a prison sentence. Lamar, on the other hand, was born and raised in Compton. His parents are still married. He’s 23, and so far he has dodged the almost inescapable bullets that dart through what he calls his “mad city.”
Lamar’s parents moved from Chicago to Compton in 1984 with only $500 in their pockets. Kendrick Lamar was born in Compton, California, raised seeing his uncles playing with shotguns and selling drugs in front of the apartment. In 1995, at the age of eight, Lamar witnessed his idols Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre, film the music video for their hit single "California Love", a very significant moment in Lamar's life. As a teenager,Lamar attended Centennial High School in Compton, he was a quiet, observant kid who made good grades.
Kendrick’s father was a key element of who he is. He did not take him for granted because he knew some of his friends did not even have one. His father used to cheat while playing basketball with him. One day when they were playing on the court together his father held the ball and ran up to make his shot. Kendrick told him that was against the rules and his father told him “Kendrick in life everybody cheats, and you just need to be with people that are true to you.”
Kendrick grew up listening to various artist from The Beatles to Biggie Smalls. He wrote his first rap when he was 13 and kept going from there. In 2003, at the age of sixteen, Lamar released his first full-length project, a mixtape titled “Youngest Head Brother In Charge”, under the stage name K-Dot. The mixtape built up enough local attention for Lamar to get a record deal with Carson-based independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment. Lamar then started producing music and videos under the label.
After receiving a cosign from American hip hop...