Behind every successful man, there’s a lot of unsuccessful years. This statement holds quite true for Kendrick Lamar when it comes to his career journey. The American hip-hop artist had a really humble beginning but knew quite early where he was going. Today, he has broken many US Billboard records and continues to make good music. Apart from a concise description of his early life, you will find facts that you probably never knew about the hip hop icon below.
What Kendrick Lamar’s Early Life Was Like
Lamar, who would be known as one of the most talented hip-hop stars of his generation was born Kendrick Lamar Duckworth on June 17, 1987, into a poverty-ridden and gangster household in Hampton, California. Named after his grandmother and in honor of the American artist Eddie Kendrick of the Temptations, Lamar didn’t have a childhood most people would desire.
His father, Kenny Duckworth had criminal ties and was an active member of a street gang known as Gangster Disciples. His parents, though from Chicago, Illinois, raised young Lamar in section 8 housing in Compton, California.
Young Lamar was a brilliant child but his parents couldn’t afford to see him through school. For this reason, he lived on welfare and was educated at McNair Elementary and Vanguard Learning Center in the Campton unified School District. After graduation, he joined Centennial High school in Compton and gained a reputation as a straight-A student.
However, he wanted to be in the music scene. On this note, he started his career at a young age of 16 under the stage name K-Dot, dropping his debut mixtape titled Youngest Head nigga in Chicago in Charge. Due to his impressive performance, the mixtape fetched him local fame and subsequently gained him a record deal with a record label based in California named Top Dawg Entertainment. In 2010, he released another mixtape titled Overly Dedicated which would turn out to be a success, granting him the opportunity to work with several famous artists and significantly increased his social media following.
For over seven years, he worked independently with the record label until in 2012 when he signed a record deal with Aftermath and Interscope. Through Top Dawg, Aftermath and Interscope, he released his breakout album (Good Kid M.A.A.D City) which was not only commercially successful but also won him Grammy Award for Best Rap album in 2016. The album also debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200. Since then, the talented rapper has continued to break Billboard records with his tracks.
7 Things You Didn’t Know About Kendrick Lamar
1. Kendrick Believes in Jesus Christ
Kendrick Lamar is a baptized born-again Christian and doesn’t shy away from talking about God publicly. As a matter of fact, he always reflects religious beliefs in some of his lyrics. He calls himself a huge fan of God and one time, he dressed up like Jesus for Halloween which drew a slew of criticism. However, he defended his actions, stating that he wore it as a way of idolizing the Master (Jesus).
2. He’s Not Among The Tallest Rappers
Though Kendrick Lamar has a big presence, he is far from being the tallest rapper out there. The Californian-born musician stands at a height of 5 ft 6 inches and weighs 67 kg. Nonetheless, he appears athletic with his chest measuring 38 inches. Also, his waist and biceps measure 32 inches and 13 inches respectively.
3. He Watched Tupac and Dr. Dre Shoot A Music Close To His House
At eight, Kendrick watched Tupac and Dr. Dre (his biggest idols) as they shot their hit single, California Love. Little did he know he would grow up to not only be mentored by Dr. Dre but also work with him. The rapper wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told him things would turn out the way they are now.
4. Lamar Has Won Many Awards
Kendrick Lamar is a musical force, no doubt. He has won seven Grammy Award and 22 nominations. In 2015 and 2016, the Californian star won Best Rap Song consecutively. He also bagged Best Rap Album in 2016 and is poised for more awards.
5. His Early Plan Was To Be Like Michael Jordan
Not the career many would’ve suggested for him given his height but Kendrick wanted to be a professional basketball player. His major mentor in that path was the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan. Anyway, he reinvented himself and soon changed his gaze due to his height.
6. He Has Been dating His High School Sweetheart
For over a decade now, the Californian rapper has been in love with his long-time girlfriend, Whitney Alford; they got engaged in 2015. Though not married yet, the two became parents to their first child in 2019 and are still going strong.
7. He’s Related To Nick Young
Kendrick Lamar’s family has a thing for the game of basketball. Nick Young, an American professional basketball player is his cousin. Perhaps, Nick also inspired the rapper’s initial dream of becoming a sportsman.