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During the late 1980s Kendrick Lamars parents Paula Oliver and Kenneth Duckworth met when they were still kids, while working on the south side of Chicago.
Paula came from a family of 13 children and Kenneth was one of seven.
While living on 76th Street & Stoney Island, Paula told Kenny she
will not put up with the dramas of street life ( as Kenneth had been
allegedly affiliated with the Gangster Disciples) and that is when they
made their escape from the war zone of the south side slums.
In 1984, while still teenagers, they hopped on a train to San Bernardino, California with nothing other than the cloths on their backs, two plastic sacs filled with their belongings and $500.
Although their destination was San Bernandino, they ended up calling Compton home when Kendricks Aunt Tina pulled some strings and got Paula a job at Mc Donalds and paid for their hotel until they could support themselves. His parents would find themselves sleeping in motels, their car and at worst they spent nights in local parks, provided it was warm enough outside.
When Paula and Kenneth were able to save up enough money for their first apartment, they settled down and what came next was baby Kendrick.
Named after the R&B/Soul legend, Eddie Kendricks by his mother, Kendrick would mature quickly and was nicknamed “Man-Man” because of this.
Known as a quite observer, always keeping to himself, the thoughtful young Kendrick was known to stutter when faced with excitement or trouble, but this would not stop Kendrick from becoming a magnet to other children at a young age, although he was described by his mother as a “Loner”.
5 years old Kendrick recalls the events of the ’92 riots, from hearing
about the Rodney King assault to watching his father take tires from a
local “Auto Zone.” It was also at the age of 5 when Lamar witnessed his
first murder, which took place outside of his apartment complex
involving an adolescent drug dealer getting shot and killed.
In 1995 at the age of 8, wrapped around his fathers shoulders, Kendrick would watched his future mentor Dr. Dre and 2pac film the music video for California Love, (just down the street from Kendricks house at the time, "1612 137th St"), which would later be an inspiring factor for young Kendrick to pursue a rap career.
When Kendrick was 8 years old walking home from his school, “McNair
Elementary”, he passed by a fast food joint and saw a guy waiting in his
car for his order and another male approached the vehicle and shot him
right through the window and killed him.
Following the events witnessing several violent tragedies, Kendrick claims, “After that, you just get numb to it.”
Coming up in the early 90s as the west coast gang scene was progressively growing more dangerous, Kendrick’s Uncles on his mothers side were Compton Crips; One of who would serve a 15 year sentence for robbery, his uncle Tony was murdered by a gun shot to the head while at a burger joint and Kendricks other uncle was locked up for robbery as well.
Although Lamar was short, his quickness was what gave him hopes of one day playing in the NBA, However, in the 7th grade he was empowered by the art of poetry. His english teacher Mr. Inge, introduced Kendrick to the literary elements that would later energize his imaginative process and aid him in his expressive talents.
Kendrick Lamar began with writing stories followed by poems and later he moved on to composing lyrics. As a child, his lyrics would be motivated by the harsh Compton streets he grew up on.
He started jotting down rap lyrics at 13 and was seriously inspired by the success of 50 Cents early mixtapes and began investing a deeper belief in his abilities and started recording.Kendrick would continue to write lyrics days on end. While his parents believed him to be working on homework assignments, young Kendrick would be coming up with poems and lyrics.
When Lamar began high school at Centennial High School (The same high school that Dr.Dre attended), he began rolling with a group of troublesome individuals who were actively involved in committing street crimes.
On one occasion, Kendrick had been shot at, afterwards his mother found him curled up on the lawn crying. Upon finding out the reason why, his parents kicked him out of the house with hopes to shape him up.
once found a hospital gown drenched with blood, from an incident
involving one of the younger members of his crew getting murdered.
As the majority of Kendricks interactions with police were on negative terms, this is a common experience shared by many young black males who are considered to fall under a particular stereotype. Although Kendrick admits that on some occasions him and his friends have been in the wrong, still the police in harsh neighbourhoods in California tend to take matters to the extreme, in many cases drawing weapons and killing these teenagers when the outcome is clearly avoidable.
Kendrick has encountered the police on many circumstances, some including guns been drawn by officers, resulting in Kendrick and his friends running away. Another occasion included Kendrick and his friend Moose were cruising in an eye-catching green Camaro, when the police threw their sirens on and pulled them over. When Moose was not quick enough to provide his license, the police pulled out their pistol and put the beam on Mooses head. Once the ordeal ended, Kendrick recalled driving off shedding tears of anger and frustration.
Lamar has lost many of his companions and close friends to gun violence by gangs, but more unjustly by the police. One instance included a domestic disturbance call, where his friend was encountered by the police while gripping a 10 inch knife and by the account of the police officers the young male ran towards them and that is when they opened fire and murdered him.
At age 16, Kenny (Kendricks father) sat him down and had a serious heart to heart with Kendrick. In this conversation Kendrick would shift paradigms and would change his focus from drinking, smoking and hanging around delinquents to basically, getting his life together.
Around this time, Kendrick quits smoking weed and drinking alcohol and begins his ascending journey to becoming a world renown hip-hop icon.
At age 16, Kendrick distributed a mix tape called, "Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year - Youngest Head Nigga in Charge", that caught a lot of attention on the local scene and outside of his community as well.
Mixtape- Youngest Head Nigga in Charge
Lamars mixtape “Youngest Head Nigga in Charge” would find itself in the hands of “TDE’s” founder, Anthony “Top” Tiffith and he would later have Kendrick come through to the studio to spit his bars in a 2 hour session without a break. Tiffith acted like he was ignoring Kendrick for a good portion of the session to see how he handled himself.
With Jay Rock already being signed to
“TDE” two weeks before this audition, the timing was perfect. The two
future cohorts would get down to business and started recording right away.
Rock became astounded once hitting the booth with K-dot, when Kendrick
wrote his entire verse in his head and memorized it in 5 minutes.
Meanwhile Jay Rock resorted to the traditional pen and pad like 99% of
hip hop artists. Immediately Rock knew Lamar was a one of a kind genius
and in his own words as he recalls the event, he says “He was like the
world’s oldest teenager”, meaning that Kendrick was seriously invested
and his maturity is far beyond his time.
This project proved Kendricks talents worthy of a position on the Carson label, "Top Dogg Entertainment".
When Kendrick was 17 years old, he had a brief meeting with Jay-Z. Unknown to many, Lamar had been sign with Def Jam. While signed on with the label he hit up the studio and to his recollection it was one of those situations where he was simply not ready to meet the expectations of the label.
He went on to release the well respected mixtape, "Training Day" which features a track list of 26 bangers.
Mixtape - Training Day
Lamar released “C4” his 3rd mixtape, Inspired by “Tha Carter 3” LP following being co-signed by Lil Wayne. Lamar dropped the K-Dot alias and began using his own name.
Mixtape - C4
School Boy Q would come up with the idea of forming a group after his solo career wasn't taking off and with the help of Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul they would soon give birth the Hip Hop collective, known as Black Hippy.
Formed in South Central, Los Angeles, this talented team of California artists would each bring an individuality unique to their own.
School Boy Q - with close ties to the Crips, Q Introduces listeners to an intense hustler/gangster attitude with various flows, intelligent wordplay and the ability to fluently bounce from topic to topic.
Jay Rock - A Bounty Hunter Blood, shocks the mic with a rugged, flawless and unmistakably hardcore sound. Although Rock carries the essence of an old school emcee, there are certain elements that he demonstrates that are one of a kind and for this he is unlike any emcee in his era, and in California.
Ab Soul - A spiritually inclined, self reflective emcee, whose dynamic approach proves metaphorical ingenious while pushing the bounds of imagination. From powerful messages of Self growth to civil disobedience, to abstract concepts of metaphysical realms and the inner glow of humans, Soul brings a depth that sheds light on the surreal and realistic faces of society.
And of course,
Kendrick Lamar - An introspective, new school born leader, often referred to as the greatest emcee of his time, a title that he has earned through expressing the dark truths that are a part of the cold realities of ghetto life. Inner demons, gang-banging, drug dealing, love and peace are just a few topics that Kendrick goes into depth about through his personal as well as omniscient viewpoints.
Below, listen to a classic 2009 track from the group "On Some Other Shit".
Throughout 2010 K-Dot would join his fellow label mate Jay Rock as well as Tech nine, E-40 and Kutt Calhoun on the Independent Grind Tour.
On September 14th, 2010 he would go on to release “Pussy & Patron 1.5” Featuring Ab-Soul of Black Hippy and If "P&P 1.5" wasn’t enough to please his fans, on the same date he put out his fourth mixtape, "Overly Dedicated".
Mixtape - Overly Dedicated
On July 2nd, Kendrick Lamar released his first full-length independent album under Top Dawg Entertainment. Titled Section.80, it was released exclusively on iTunes.
Album - Section.80
Kendrick began catching a major buzz with this expressive introduction
to the industry, thanks to songs like, “Hii Power”, “Ronald Reagan Era”
Kendrick would tour and collaborate with more popular recording artists such as Young Jeezy, The Game, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne.
This year marks the point when Dr. Dre would initially become Kendricks mentor in both music and business. Paul Rosenberg introduced Dr.Dre to Kendricks music and from there, Dre contacted Kendrick after seeing the Video for, "Ignorance is Bliss". With Black Hippy backing Kendrick, the TDE united super group would sign both independently and as solo artists under TDE and Interscope via Aftermath Records.
Dr. Dre signed him to his independent record label, Aftermath Entertainment, in a joint venture with Top Dawg, where Kendricks contract earns him $1.7 million.
October 2012 His major debut album, “Good Kid, m.A.A.d city" which
featured “Swimming Pools” “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” and “Poetic Justice” would place this masterpiece #2 on the USA Billboard 200’s Chart and had been certified platinum by RIAA.
Debut Album - Good Kid, m.A.A.d city
Although the album had been nominated for over 7 categories for the 56th annual Grammy Awards, for “good kid, m.A.A.d. city”, Kendrick would not receive any awards.
MTV named Kendrick Lamar the #1 “Hottest MC in the Game” on their yearly chart. Lamar would open up for Kanye West at the Staples centre as a headliner on the “Yeezus tour.
On December 06, Dr Dre and Kendrick Lamar would collaborate on a promotional Dre Beats commercial that features both of the artists working on an upcoming project.
Released the track “i” a 57th annual Grammy award winning single, which made him a victor for the “Best Rap Performance” and “Best Rap Song” award.
Later this year Lamar would establish ties with Taylor Swift and
collaborate on “Bad Blood”, a hit off of Swift’s “1989” album. Later the
video would find itself a #1 spot on the “Hot 100”.
In December Kendrick was fitted as a Rebook endorser and joined forces with the brand for a short film. Kendrick felt this was a great opportunity to reach out to children in rough communities, as Reebok is known for their involvement in aiding the youth.
Kendrick takes a huge step towards his personal growth when he confronts his demons in front of the world and shows his vulnerable side when he admits his insecurities and depression on the Grammy winning single “i”. This reveals not only the deep psychological troubles that Lamar faces in his own life, but he has created a platform for others, available to share similar experiences, reminding themselves that they are indeed not alone in the battle.
Kendrick released his 3rd studio album “To Pimp a Butterfly” which was released a week earlier than expected, due to some kind of accidental digital error. Toping USA and UK charts, selling over 325,000 copies within the first week, this album would reach #1 on the Billboard’s 200’s chart and become his first album to do so.
Album - To Pimp a Butterfly
Named “The Years Best Album” by Rolling Stone magazine, praised by many
for its extremely honest content and its un-ignorable political subject
matter with “black cultured” themed concepts, this album will be
regarded not only as a piece of musical art-work, but as a historical
revolutionary strike against some of the most serious social issues that
exist in black America and around the world today.
Released “Untitled Unmastered”, featuring a variety of unreleased demos
that did not make the cut for “To Pimp a Butterfly”
Album - Untitled Unmastereduntitled unmastered.
Grammy nominations at the 58th annual Grammy Awards in February of 2016,
the highest amount out of any other nominee of the year, “To Pimp a
Butterfly” landed him five Grammy Awards, which include: Best Rap Song,
Best Song of the Year and Album of the Year.
The humbling character of “Kendrick Lamar” has stayed true to his roots and lives what he speaks. Up to this point, he has not made any outrageous purchases with his fortune, Kendrick lives in a three level condominium which he rents in the South Bay. His largest buy is an appropriate sized suburban home just east of Los Angeles, which was bought for his mother and father. It was not easy in convincing his parents to move out of section 80 housing complex where they raised Kendrick, but eventually they found comfort in the gesture and now reside comfortably in their new house.
Interesting Facts About Kendrick Lamar:
Attended Centennial High School
He is a Gemini
At a young age both of his parents worked fast food jobs to pay the bills
Won over 7 grammy awards
Inspired by Micheal Jordans ability to do anything
His dad took him to the swap meet every weekend for as long as he could remember.
His family was assisted financially through welfare
Got engaged to his long loved high school sweetheart
The track, "F*ck Your Ethnicity" was inspired by racial diversity of fans at his concerts
Kendrick Lamar Featured Artists and Collaborations
A Da Bu$iness
BJ The Chicago Kid
Chance The Rapper
CyHi The Prynce
Dope Boy Esko
Ft. Busta Rhyme
Jairus ‘J-Mo’ Mozee
Machine Gun Kelly
Mary J. Blige
Nu Jerzey Devil
Rapper Big Pooh
Royce Da 5'9"
The Kid Daytona
The Winners Circle
Trae tha Truth
Kendrick Lamar Producers & DJs:
A Tribe Called Quest
A$AP Ty Beats
Alex Da Kid
Antwan "Amadeus" Thompson
Best Kept Secret
Bongo the Drum GAHD
Broken Equipment Productions
by Skhye Hutch
OG Ron C
Chase N. Cashe
Cool & Dre
Craze & Hoax
Daniel "Keys" Perez
Dernst “D’Mile” Emile
DJ Don Cannon
DJ Ill Will
Jairus ‘J-Mo’ Mozee
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
Keith The Beast
Marlon "Chordz" Barrow
Mike "Emaydee" Dupree
Mike WiLL Made It
Noah “40” Shebib
Ralfy "FAFA" Valencia
Skill Still Appeal
Still in book
The Real DJ Kings
Ty Dolla $ign
Yung Boys World
Kendrick Lamar Albums, Mixtapes, LPs and EPs:
Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year - Youngest Head Nigga in Charge (2003)
Training Day (2005)
Overly Dedicated (2010)
Good Kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)
To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
Untitled Unmastered (2016)
Kendrick Lamar Songs & Videos:
Kendrick Lamar Singles:
I - 2015
Alright - 2015
Swimming Pools - 2012
King Kunta - 2015
m.A.A.d city - 2012
u - 2015
Bitch, Don 't Kill My Vibe [Explicit] 2012
How Much a Dollar Cost - 2015
Money Trees - 2012
Poetic Justice - 2012
Backseat Freestyle - 2012
The Blacker The Berry - 2015
These Walls - 2015
The Recipe - 2012
A.D.H.D - 2011
Sing About Me / I’m Dying of Thirst - 2012
Untitled 2 - 2016
Wesley’s Theory - 2015
Cartoon & Cereal - 2012
Hood Politics - 2015
HiiiPoWeR - 2011
For Free? - 2015
The Art of Peer Pressure [Explicit] - 2012
The Spiteful Chant - 2011
Mortal Man - 2015
Blow My High - 2011
Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter - 2012
You Ain't Gotta Lie - 2015
The Jig Is Up - 2014 Westside, Right On Time - 2012
Keisha's Song - 2011
Kendrick Lamar Interviews:
Kendrick Lamar Freestyles/ Cyphers:
Kendrick Lamar Concert Tickets and Tour Dates:
Kendrick Lamar Instrumentals:
Kendrick Lamar Instrumentals, a playlist by joevetica on Spotify
Kendrick Lamar Quotes:
“My pops did whatever he could to get money. He was in the streets. You know the story.” “I remember always walking to the government building with mom. We got our food stamps fast because we lived across the street,” “I didn’t know it was hard times because they always had my Christmas present under the tree and for my birthday.”
"People are used to music that justifies street culture but something that's not touched on is why these kids act the way they act, live the way they live."
"I'm going to be 100 percent real with you," "In all my days of schooling, from preschool all the way up to 12th grade, there was not one white person in my class. Literally zero."
"Imagine only discovering that when you're 25, You're around people you don't know how to communicate with. You don't speak the same lingo. It brings confusion and insecurity. Questioning how did I get here, what am I doing? That was a cycle I had to break quick. But at the same time, you're excited, because you're in a different environment. The world keeps going outside the neighborhood."
"The worst part of success is, to me, adapting to it. It's scary."
"The best thing is to always keep honest people around, because when you have a bunch of yes men around that know that you're making a mistake but let you go on with it, that's when it ruins your mind state as an artist."