From the Beginning
At this point, Kendrick Lamar is internationally known. He has a certified platinum album, a few Top 40 singles, and a Grammy Award under his belt. With a net worth of $35 million, the rapper even made Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 list. However, he traveled a long way to get where he is now.
Raised on the streets of Compton with connections to Bloods, Lamar hasn’t been shy about seeing certain things too early in life. One sight he was probably destined to see? Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre filming the music video for “California Love” in his hometown.
As an eight-year-old seeing his idols so close up, this moment was a pivotal point in Lamar’s life.
Nine years later, K. Dot released his first full length mixtape, Youngest Head N**ga in Charge (Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year). From there on, the Cali native kept working and grinding, never letting his work ethic falter.
He knew he had made it when the idol he saw as a child called him.
“I was on tour with my brother Jay Rock, and I was his hype man. I wasn’t the main attraction. I was just there to get the crowd ready, get my own thing out, support my bro at the same time. It was Tech N9ne’s tour,” Lamar shared on The Howard Stern Show. “Me and my boy, we was eating at Chili’s — I’ll never forget it — we was eating at Chili’s, and we got a call like, ‘Yo, Dr. Dre likes your music.'”
The star went on to say that he hung up because he thought it was joke. Thankfully, Dr. Dre kept trying. After a few more calls, Lamar finally took it seriously, saying the call “definitely” changed the course of his life.
Nowadays, Lamar is the idol eight-year-olds are looking up to — and what an idol he is.
During an interview with Forbes, the rapper showed just how much he loves hip-hop as a genre, revealing that he only wants the best for it as a whole. According to the “Loyalty” rapper, in order for hip-hop to continue thriving and growing, everyone has to realize that music is a reflection of artists’ personal style. More than that, all musicians have to respect each other.
“That’s why I can’t shun a lot of the artists that may not be a Kendrick Lamar. But this is what I tell them every time I see them… be yourself and do what you do but also know who laid down the groundwork,” Kendrick said.
He dropped tons of knowledge on the style that rappers like 21 Savage, Young Thug, Future, and Desiigner have made popular. He even offered big-brother-like advice to younger artists.
“Don’t go on your interviews and diss them and say you don’t like them and you don’t care for them,” he said, addressing those who actively speak out against their fellow artists. “That’s your opinion, that’s cool but you have to respect them.”
Lamar practices the collaborative approach to music that he preaches too. In fact, during an interview with Zane Lowe, N.E.R.D’s Pharrell talked about K. Dot’s part in the group’s track “Don’t Don’t Do It!”
“He is the arch of no compromise, no concession, and very colorful with it,” Pharrell said. “And that’s what, I feel like, that’s what is very interesting about his journey. Because if you understand him then, you know anything that he’s ever done is just what he’s really, really, really felt.”
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