Kendrick Lamar: 10 things you probably didn’t know
By now, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone on the planet who doesn’t know who Kendrick Lamar is - what with his best-selling album 'DAMN' and 2018 UK tour.
But considering he’s such a humble chap, there’s probably quite a bit you don’t know about him.
Here’s 10 Kendrick Lamar facts that may very well blow your mind...
1. Kendrick was a straight-A student
You didn’t think his word-smithery was God-given, did you? Kendrick was an exemplary student in his youth while also dedicating serious time to his music.
He said in an interview with BBC Radio 6 Music, “School was pretty fun for me. I knew when it was time to press the button and get the grade."
The rapper recalled a time when he’d forgotten to do a poetry homework assignment so rushed it out in 10 minutes. He still got an A and knew then that he wanted to write lyrics.
Later, Kendrick paid it forward when he invited students from his old high school to the GRAMMYs.
2. The rapper wrote most of No. 1 album ‘DAMN’ in his mum’s kitchen
Kendrick Lamar with his mother, Paula Oliver. pic.twitter.com/ddrbGyZJ1F
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) 29 August 2016
Kendrick revealed the level to which he kept it real for his new album - penning the entire thing in his mother’s kitchen.
The star later shared a text his mum sent him after she heard the record: "OMG. This CD is the bombbbb! … This your best one to me, no bullshit. Your daddy said u look stressed out on the cover lol. I said nigga that's the point, we always stressing him out."
3. Kendrick is a born-again Christian
The hip-hop star has made no bones about his religious beliefs, regularly writing lyrics about Christianity and revealing he had been baptised during a live performance in 2013.
He told Complex, "I got a greater purpose, God put something in my heart to get across and that's what I'm going to focus on, using my voice as an instrument and doing what needs to be done."
So, big fan of Jesus. Speaking of which…
4. He dressed up as Jesus for Halloween
Naturally, Kendrick’s choice of costume was the focus of a lot of criticism, but the star was quick to defend his dress up.
He said of dressing as Christ for Halloween, “If I want to idolise somebody, I'm not going to do a scary monster. I'm not gonna do another artist or a human being - I'm gonna idolise the Master, who I feel is the Master, and try to walk in His light.
"It's hard, it's something I probably could never do, but I'm gonna try. Not just with the outfit but with everyday life. The outfit is just the imagery, but what's inside me will display longer.”
5. He comes from gangster roots
Kendrick was born into a family with criminal ties. His father was a member of Gangster Disciples while the rapper's wider family is said to be connected to the notorious Bloods gang. On the cover of his second album ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ (above), a young Kendrick is pictured with an uncle throwing a gang sign. A baby bottle stands next to an alcoholic drink on the table.
The star said he grew up surrounded by the culture and considers that album to represent getting out of the life.
He told Spin, “We got photo books full of pictures like that. I was in that atmosphere every day until my teenage years. It’s still so vivid to me. This picture shows how far I really come.”
6. Kendrick saw Tupac and Dr Dre shoot a music video as a kid
The ‘Humble’ hitmaker got his first taste of hip-hop stardom at just eight years old when the legendary rappers Tupac and Dr Dre shot the promo for ‘California Love’ near his house.
In an interview at the GRAMMYs, Kendrick said, “That moment right there, whether I knew it or not, branched me out to what I’m doing now.”
The star revealed how he told Dr Dre about the encounter only to find he remembered the moment when the kids came to see what was going on.
“It was very surreal,” the star added, pondering a moment in the future where a young fan might be inspired by his own work.
7. Kendrick Lamar's real name is Duckworth
UK fans may be surprised to learn that Kendrick shares a last name with Coronation Street legends Vera and Jack, but opted to use his middle name for his music career. While to a British ear the name may not sound fitting for a hip-hop superstar, the rapper wears his family history with pride, even naming a song ‘Duckworth’.
The track tells the true story of how his father Kenny “Ducky” Duckworth met record producer Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith years before he signed Kendrick to his label TDE.
Speaking of Kendrick’s other names...
8. He used to go by K.Dot
Back when he was starting out as a rapper, Kendrick went by the alias K.Dot (which in slang can mean “OK, full stop”).
In an interview with Hard Knock TV in 2011, Kendrick revealed that he decided to drop the moniker when it was time for people to know the real him.
He said, “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.’"
Kendrick added that fans relate more to his real name.
HIP-HOP QUIZ: Are you a Rap God? Or do you Need A Doctor?
9. He is engaged to his high-school sweetheart
— The City of Compton (@ComptonCityHall) December 12, 2015
You might think a superstar like Kendrick would be going the typical celebrity route of racking up a list of famous exes… but the 'LOVE' rapper asked his long-time girlfriend Whitney Alford to marry him in 2015.
Kendrick confirmed rumours that the pair plan to wed in an interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, saying, "Yeah, definitely. I'm loyal to the soil.”
He added, “I wouldn’t even call her my girl. That’s my best friend. I don’t even like the term that society has put in the world as far as being a companion—she’s somebody I can tell my fears to.
10. Kendrick is obsessed with sugary cereal
The rapper is OBSESSED with the sweet breakfast food and claims to have the milk/cereal ratio “down to a science.” Kendrick even has a song named ‘Cartoons and Cereal’.
However, the star will not entertain any healthy cereal options, saying, “Don’t talk to me about no f**king Raisin Bran, dawg. Wheaties?! Stop it.”
He added, “You pick that up in the aisle when you’re walking with me and I’m liable to punch you in the face even if you were my cousin.”
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