Early this December, Kendrick Lamar’s producer, Derek Ali (aka MixedByAli), was robbed of his hard drive containing over $1 million worth of unreleased music. It was taken out of the Top Dawg Entertainment engineer’s BMW while he was at the gym.
Thanks to a fingerprint left behind by the thief, Hawthorne, California authorities found and recovered the drive. Detectives on the case matched the prints found on the Ali’s vehicle to that of 23-year-old Jonjairo Espinoza. Espinoza, alongside another still-at-large thief were connected to crimes in L.A., Carson, Hawthorne, and Torrance.
“Basically these guys are serial car burglars,” Hawthorne police Lt. James Royer said to Los Angeles Daily News. “They prey upon victims who leave items viewable from the outside.”
While no one knows exactly what is on the drive, Ali surely needed it back. Royer said the producer was “very happy” when authorities returned his property to him. Although another copy is still missing, the device is encrypted, rendering it useless to whoever has it.
So, now Ali and K. Dot can resume their regular activities.
Though the thought of losing that much money is scary, just a few days after the burglary, Kendrick was in good spirits. He visited the The Howard Stern Show to talk about what he’s been up to. What Kendrick ended up talking about, though, was the time he hung up on Dr. Dre.
“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. “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.
What made Dr. Dre calling him so surreal was the fact that he is literally Kendrick’s childhood idol. Being raised on the streets of Compton with connections to Bloods, it’s no secret that Kendrick has seen some things. If he was destined to see anything, though, it would have been 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.
These days, Kendrick is the idol to young hip-hop fans. The genre is in good hands with K. Dot, as he believes rap is a place for individuality. According to the “DNA” rapper, everyone has to realize that music is a reflection of artists’ personal style and all musicians have to respect each other in order for hip-hop to continue thriving and growing.
“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 during an interview with Forbes.
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