photo: Kendrick Lamar childhood photo
photo: Kendrick Lamar With Girlfriend Whitney Alford During Centennial High School Years
photo: Kendrick Lamar Before Famous, Biting Down on Diamond TDE Chain
photo: Kendrick Lamar "Good Kid, MAAD City" Autographed Album
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth was born on June 17, 1987. Standing at 5"5 tall, the West Coast rapper was born in Compton, California. Born to Paula Oliver and Kenny Duckworth, he was named after a singer from Motown Soul legends, the Temptations. His mother was a fan of singer Eddie Kendricks and felt hr son would be a legend the same, naming him "Kendrick."
While some rappers claim to have only rapped a few months and never wanted to rap as a youth, Kendrick was the polar opposite. He knew since a young age he was meant to be a legend in Hip Hop. Ever since seeing 2pac and Dr Dre shoot the video "California Love" in his neighborhood in Compton, his destiny was sewn into his soul. His father brought him to the set, to make sure his son saw the legendary Hip-Hop icon perform and that great people too, cared about his community. 15-years later, post Death Row Records era, Kendrick would sign to Dr Dre's Aftermath label.
Obviously different in thought and passion, Lamar was also different in method. Instead of taking to the internet to get signed, he took his lyrics to the streets. He and fellow TDE artist Jay Rock would cross all the neighborhoods in Los Angeles to battle rap and freestyle. They hit clubs, projects, parking lots, and more just showcasing their talent. Footage of some of those events can be seen in the video "WOW," while others can be seen here on Before Famous, the videos page.
Kendrick Lamar claims he was never a Blood or Crip gang member. However, he did grow up in a Blood neighborhood of Compton. His father was a Blood gang member, along with members of his family. This made his ties to the Blood gang an born-in association. He rolled the streets with friends from his Bompton neighborhood and had to put in work along side them if ever challenged.
That's not the end of his gang affilitions however. Kendrick was also born in association to some Crips. Uncles on his mother's side of the family banged Crip in Los Angeles. She had 13 siblings in all and it is not clear how many were Blue'd up. However, this made K-Dot grow up with a respect for people who carried both the blue and red bandannas. He grew up seeing value in people beyond a neighborhood set or 'flag.' Instead, he was a man who stood up for those he loved and respected.
K.Dot vs Kendrick Lamar
In a 2010 Interview with now defunct RailroadHipHop.com, Kendrick Explained the difference of K.Dot and Kendrick Lamar. The two monikers represent different poitns of his life, where his final elevation was to be himself. K.Dot was the student, Kendrick Lamar is the master.
"KDot was just a rapper trying to find his niche, studying all the greats and taking pieces from each individual style in rap. That's K.Dot. Kendrick Lamar, that's a whole-nother person. That's me, my whole life," said the rapper in the interview. He continued elaborating, "Kendrick Lamar is Compton, California... That's what I reprseent. My whole life, I put into music. Stories of young black male individuals trying their best to escape the influences of the city. That's me. That's what I represent. Crips, Pirus, the muthaf--kin cracked out moms. The muh'f--kin dead-beat daddies. All that sh-t is instilled in me. So Kendrick Lamar is Compton."
How Jay Rock & Kendrick Lamar Met
Kungfu Kenny [K.Dot] and Eastside Johnny [JR] have a very close knit relationship. They grinded their way to the top of rap music in 2017 and tour the world together in the name of good music. How the two met is quite the same. They connected over music.
'Rock' and Lamar met at a location called 'The 10' aka 'Centennial.' It is believed to be the high school KL went to in Compton, California. According to JR himself, the two met at a place to record there and he was wowed by Lamar's ability to record music without writing a verse. He told Hot 97's Ebro in The Morning hosting crew that their first time recording together, he was taking 30-40 minutes to write part of his verse, while K.Dot wrote nothing before recording and had his whole verse, a dope one, complete in no time. Not having necesity to write wowed him.
Ever since that day working together at Centennial, the two have been close.
His Wife, Whitney Alford
Kend Lamar is all about loyalty, loyalty, loyalty! He's had a long-time girlfriend named Whitney Alford who is pretty much his wife, though only engaged. They grew up together in Compton, California and went to school together at Centennial High. It was then their friendship would bud off into a loving relationship. The two have been inseparable since, even though they have had their time's apart to figure out how strong their bond is.
According to UMusic.ca, the relationship was kept quiet in the beginning of Lamar's career. Their first appearance together publicly was in 2014. The couple attended the 56th Annual Grammy Awards event. A year later, at an event to promote his new single "King Kunta," people spotted Whitney was wearing a large engagement ring. The Compton lovebird's marriage plans were exposed.
Whitney and Kendrick do not have any known kids yet. The official marraige status is unknown and not likely to be announced by the duo. Howver, it's clear they are just married without the government documents, traveling and sticking togethor for almost all public events now.
Kendrick Lamar shook up the rap game in 2013 with 5-alarm rap verse on Big Sean song "Control."
"I got love for youall but i'm trying to murda you n--gas / Tyrna make sure your core fans never heard of you n--gas / They don't wanna hear not one more verb from you n--gas" rapped Kendrick on the verse at one point.
The scatching track sent shockwaves through Hip-Hop culture. Fans were confused on how Big Sean even put the song out with the verse, considering Lamar said he was trying to 'murder him' on his own song. However, the gain was great for Sean, considering everyone did talk about it. Genius marketing and profit scheme.
None the less, Hip Hop heads were offended. He told New York and East Coast rappers he owned both coasts and more. It set off long line of diss replies but many verses were looked as weak. Those who replied to the 'diss' included Cassidy, Joel Ortiz, Meek Mill, Papoose, Lupe Fiasco, and Eminem.
The effects of his verse solidfied his spot as top of the rap game. Making an entire genre of music get into their emotions and respond was a feat perahaps no one else in rap has done before nor after.
Rap Success . Sales.
Kendrick Lamar re-invents his music with a legendary touch each album. He's sold over 7-million records to date according to RIAA. He also produced the soundtrack to the highly acclaimed, box-office record smashing movie, Black Panther. His top selling project was GKMC or "Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City." To date, it's certified 3x Platinum with over 3-million-records sold worldwide. His latest album 'Damn' has almost caught up, selling over 3-million as well but has not topped his 1st major release.
While it's not the top seller, the album 'To Pimp A Butterfly' is arguably more highly acclaimed than his other project. It's the only rap album of his to peak at #1 in the European country, the UK. It's sold over 1 million copies to date.