10 Things You Didn’t Know About Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar has been having a great year so far. But today is a special day for the 'Poetic Justice' rapper as he turns 25. In honor of this milestone birthday, TheDrop.fm has compiled a list of facts about the Compton emcee. Surely, fans know he released a lauded debut LP, 'good kid, m.A.A.d. city,' reps Top Dawg Entertainment and is part of the Black Hippy crew, but there's so much more to learn. Here's 10 Things You Didn't Know About Kendrick Lamar.
While Lamar was in school, he was a stellar student. Despite passing his classes on the teacher's good side, he was real shy and didn't really show off his intelligence. "This is always in my head: There was a math question that I knew the answer to, but I was so scared to say it," he told LA Weekly. "Then this little chick said the answer and it was the right answer, my answer. That bothers me still to this day, bein' scared of failure."
This isn't just because the two worked on 'Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe' together last year. The rapper has nothing but praise for Queen Monster, calling her a "free spirit in the studio."
"It's just great to be around people that inspire you from another genre, you know. In fact, it's even bigger for her to respect hip-hop music the way she does, true hip-hop music, so much respect to her," he said in an interview.
Being from Compton, there have been stereotypes that Lamar has had to deal with. Although he may not necessarily have had the easiest time growing up, he expresses how blessed he feels to have his family around, especially his parents. He is so grateful for their support that he reportedly spent his recent earnings on them rather than just himself.
"Now that I'm financially stable I'm able to help them," he said in an interview. "That's all I care about. I haven't bought myself anything yet. My biggest purchase for them was buying them a house and seeing my brother go to college."
While the idea of poppin' Mollys has been floating around in the lyrics of the latest hit rap tracks, Lamar is one of the spitters who won't be taking part in that trend. In an interview with MTV, he explained, "Sometimes you have the trends that's not that cool. You may have certain artists portraying these trends and don't really have that lifestyle, and then it gives off the wrong thing. And it becomes kinda corny after a while."
Lamar has been rapping since he was a kid and went by the stage name, K. Dot. However as he got older, he thought that going by his real name would be a better move for his career. And he was right.
"I first started rapping when I was 13, and when I said I want to sit down and I want to perfect my craft, I really went after studying all the greats," he told HipHopDx.com. "[The name change] was just me basically developing myself. When people heard [the name] K. Dot, they were like, 'The kid is dope, he can rap -- but who is he?' That went on for years -- just another kid in the streets that can rap good, right? So I was like, 'Y'know what? I want people to know who I am as a person and what I represent.' So I woke up one morning and said, the best way to start is to give them me...my name change, my real name... the s--- transcended to where I'm putting [my real name] on records and people are accepting it because they can relate."
With so many rappers coming out of the woodwork these days, it's safe to say that competition is pretty common in hip-hop. However, Snoop Dogg, who's a legend not only in the genre but also on the West Coast, gives props to the Compton rapper. “I love Kendrick Lamar, I love his success, I love his story, his hustle,” he said in an interview. “Standing for something and being his own, tryin’ to hold this thing up as far as the West Coast and now we got somebody that can really run with it from a young perspective and put a different point of view.”
He continued, "I mean, this is awesome for me, myself as one of the OGs in the game to sit back and watch the young homey have his way and really dazzle the people with great music, with a great show and a new sound."
Kendrick Lamar is known for his thoughtful lyrics and has been praised for what he's doing for hip-hop. And it looks like the bigwigs are taking notice. Lamar will be honored with the ASCAP Vanguard Award on June 27 for his contributions to music.
“Kendrick Lamar’s smart, structured storytelling and genre-bending sound make him stand out amongst his peers. He pushes boundaries with his creativity, perfectly illustrating everything that the ASCAP Vanguard Award recognizes,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams.
Being a huge Tupac fan, the lyricist witnessed the genius of the late rapper at a very young age. When he was 7 years old, Lamar saw Tupac and Dr. Dre, who he would later work closely with, filming their music video for the 1995 hit, 'California Love.'
“I was in Compton and they were shooting the first version of it,” he said in an interview. “They stopped right in front of the middle of the street. My pops had seen them and came back to the house and got me. My father went to the house to get me and put me on his shoulders to watch them shoot.”
Although they finished many years apart, Dre and Lamar both went to Compton's Centennial High School.
From Frosted Flakes to Fruity Pebbles, Kendrick Lamar has had it all. In an interview with Complex, he reveals his love for the breakfast food -- just as long as it's not the healthy stuff. "Wheaties? Don't talk to me," he said. "You pick that up in the aisle and you come talk to me, I'm liable to punch you in the face if you're my cousin."
He continued, "All my s--- got s--- in it."