Download: Kendrick Lamar - Before They Were Famous

By Michael McCrudden


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Before Kendrick Lamar would be topping charts alongside Taylor Swift with Bad Blood, Before MTV named him the hottest MC of 2012 putting him in the same ranks as Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West.

Kendrick was eight when his dad took him to watch Dr. Dre and Tupac shoot the video for California Love, just two blocks away from his own home. Neither of his parents graduated high school and Kendrick grew up the odd man out in his family as a bit of a keener with his nose in the books.

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth was born in Compton in 1987 to a family heavily involved in gang culture. His father had been part of Chicago's infamous Gangster Disciples, and his attempts to leave that life were defeated when the couple relocated to Compton only to find this area gang-polluted and flooded with crack culture in the 80s.

As they made efforts to raise Kendrick right, his parents worked regular jobs but some of their extended family became embroiled in the destructive conflicts between the Crips and Bloods. Lamar's uncle was shot and killed, and various cousins went to prison.

Kendrick was a gifted student who enjoyed writing, initially short stories, later poems, which then developed into lyrics. His parents and extended family took note and they began investing in his talents by shielding him from gang life.

I’m Michael McCrudden and welcome to Before they were famous documenting the life of Kendrick Lamar, prior to fame.

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