A gloomy Sunday morning in Compton, the sky an un-California-ish grey. Into the parking lot of Tam’s – a local hamburger stand – pulls a chromed-out black Mercedes SUV driven by Kendrick Lamar. He is going to see L, G-Weed, and a few more buddies from the neighborhood. Lamar might be one of the best artists in his generation, having won 13 Grammys, with fans from Kanye West to Taylor Swift. But here at Tam’s, he’s just Kendrick Duckworth, Paula and Kenny’s son.
We might have witnessed Kendrick Lamar’s journey to fame from the beginning. We saw him as one of the first MCs of his age cohort who exceeded the expectations since his breakout mixtape, “Overly Dedicated”. His debut album received critical acclaim as a masterpiece, and his multiple RIAA plaques, Grammy wins, top slots on “album of the year” lists, and Pulitzer Prize since then have proven his position in the music industry.
But, behind the spotlight, who is he really? Aside from rapping, does he have any ventures? How tall is Kendrick Lamar? These shocking truths about the rapper will make you look at him in a new light!
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Kendrick Lamar Hails From Campton, CA
Kendrick Lamar, full name Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, was born in Campton, California. His parent moved there from Chicago a few years before Kendrick was born. According to Lamar, his father, Kenny Duckworth, was part of a street gang, so his mother, Paula Oliver, gave him an ultimatum. “She said, ‘I can’t stay with you if you don’t strive to get a better life'”, the rapper recalls.
With $500 in hand, they packed their belongings and hopped on a train to California. His parent moved there from Chicago a few years before Kendrick was born. For the first few years, they slept in the car or motels or parks when the weather was warm enough. Eventually, they made enough money to get themselves a home and welcomed Lamar.
The Rapper Witnessed A Murder When He Was Only Five
Ironically, although Kenny and Paula moved to escape a violent milieu, the neighborhood they chose to build a home was notorious for its crime rate. The couple tried their best to give little Kenny a peaceful childhood, but the rapper still recalls seeing violence and death on the streets as a child. According to him, he first witnessed a murder when he was only five.
“It was outside my apartment unit,” Lamar explained. “A guy was out there serving his narcotics and somebody rolled up with a shotgun and blew his chest out. Admittedly, it has done something to me right then and there. It let me know that this is not only something that I’m looking at, but it’s something that maybe I have to get used to — you dig what I’m saying?”
Just three years later, right at Tam’s, the rapper saw his second murder. “Dude was in the drive-thru ordering his food, and homey ran up, boom boom — smoked him”, he told Rolling Stone. That was too much of a trauma for a kid, but still, Lamar was thankful that his parents did what they could to keep him safe and innocent.
He Thinks Of Himself As An Introvert
If you are curious about Kendrick Lamar’s zodiac sign, his birthday is June 17, 1987. That makes him a Gemini. People born under the twins are known to have two polarizing personalities: On one hand, they can be open-minded, outgoing, and shine brightly in social situations, but at times, they love nothing more than hiding away and recharging themselves from all the extroversion.
That’s exactly how the rapper describes himself. According to Lamar, he’s an introvert when he turns off his “artist mode”. “I like to be alone a lot. I need that,” said Lamar. While the California native cherishes his alone time, he knows that he has to step out of his comfort zone. “It’s that duality,” he revealed. “I can go in front of a crowd of 100,000 people and express myself, then go back, be alone, and collect my thoughts all over again.”
He’s Among The Smallest Rappers In The Music Industry
Have you ever wondered ‘How tall is Kendrick Lamar’? In fact, the Grammy-winning artist is not as tall as you think. He clocks in at 5’6’’ inches, or around 167 centimeters. This makes him one of the smallest rappers in the music industry.
In 2019, Lamar took a photo next to the Jamaican runner Usain Bolt. As you can see, the height difference between him and the 6’5’’ Bolt is staggering:
Well, maybe for some fans, this is not a satisfying answer for some fans for ‘How tall is Kendrick Lamar’. But hey, they often say tiny but mighty, right? He’s one of the biggest rappers of his generation, and it’s all that matters!
His Family Referred To Him As “Man Man”
We might know Lamar by several nicknames, but one that resonated with his family members is “Man Man”. His parents use this nickname whenever they want to encourage him, so the rapper truly appreciates it.
“From what my family tells me, I carried myself as a man – that’s why they called me ‘Man Man,’” said Lamar. According to him, when he wounded himself as a child, they expected him not to weep. Although it does put some pressure on him at times, this gets him ready for the responsibility as a star. As a result, Lamar ends up getting tough skin, too, even with criticism.
He Recalls Showing An Interest In Vocabulary In The First Grade
Since elementary school, Lamar already harbored a passion for words and how they are used in poetry or literature. By paying attention to his family members’ conversation, the young Kendrick learned new words.
The rapper even shocked his first-grade teacher by using the word “audacity” in homework. “I knew the word only because I heard my auntie and uncles arguing, saying, ‘You got the audacity to take my motherfucking drink and pour it out?!’”, he laughed.
He Attended The Same High School As Dr.Dre
Dr.Dre and Lamar are among the most notable students from Compton’s Centennial High School. The school also prides itself on having NBA star Aaron Afflalo, rapper Big Fase 100, and NFL Hall Of Fame Larry Allen.
Although Kendrick prioritized his music career over school, his grades were consistently excellent, getting straight As throughout his time there. In an interview with BBC, the rapper claimed: “School was pretty fun for me”. He still remembers a poetry assignment that he completely forgot about until 10 minutes before class started. But guess what? He still received an A. “I knew when it was time to press the button…and get the grade,” he said.
He Says Religion Helped Him Steer Away From A Destructive Path
Lamar believes that his Christian faith helps him transform his whole life. After seeing a lot of death and bloodshed, he started to feel hopeless and indifferent.
Only when he reached a low point in his teenage did he realize something needed to change. He eventually decided to seek peace from Christianity and was baptized twice, the first at the age of 16 and the second in his twenties.
He Released His First Mixtape At The Age Of 16
Even his most loyal fans might not know that, back in 2003, 16-year-old Lamar dropped his first full-length project and began what would become a rapping phenomenon career. The mixtape titled “Youngest Head Nigga In Charge” (Hub City Threat), where he was remixing chart-toppers and taking swipes at the big names like any aspiring rapper would. At the time, perhaps the artist couldn’t even see that overwhelming success would come to him a decade later.
Now, here’s a glimpse of what 16-year-old Kendrick sounded like:
Kendrick Lamar – “Youngest Head Nigga In Charge”
Taylor Swift Helped Him Get His First No.1
Yes, we know that “Humble” is his first No.1 as a lead artist. But we might have forgotten that the rapper got his first overall No.1 in 2015 as part of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” remix.
Many rap enthusiasts were offended by the fact that hip-hop’s Chosen Child collaborated with the pop queen, but Kendrick justified himself to Howard Stern in 2017: “With this particular record, it was me just vibing and catching her lyrics,” Lamar said. “I didn’t want to get into her head too crazy. I just wanted to have my own inspiration and see where it took it.”
He Got Inspiration From His Mom’s Kitchen
Some rappers seek inspiration at nightclubs, while others find themselves a getaway in Paris. What about the Grammy-winning artist? He returns to the place where he had most of his meals growing up: His mother’s kitchen. In a 2017 interview with Dave Chappelle, Lamar revealed that he wrote the majority of his 2012 breakthrough album there.
Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 Hit “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”
Next time you run out of ideas for your essay, you know where to go!
He Believes “Damn” Is His Best Work
Although “To Pimp A Butterfly” has a wider musical and historical scope, Kendrick Lamar admitted to Big Boy that he believes Damn, his release in 2017, is his best work. He placed “nice kid, m.A.A.d. City” in second place, followed by “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “Section.80”. In addition, the rapper thinks his best verse is in “Fear”.
Hungry for some Kendrick Lamar T-shirts and other epic products?
Kendrick Lamar’s Wife Is His High School Sweetheart
Speaking of “Damn”, one of Lamar’s most notable lines is “loyalty, loyalty, loyalty”. Yes, he’s loyal to the core. The ultimate proof is that he just got engaged to Whitney Alford – his high school sweetheart.
Speaking of his long-term romance, Kendrick said, “I wouldn’t even call her my girl. That’s my best friend. I don’t even like the term that society has put out into the world as far as being a companion. She’s somebody I can tell my fears to.” A relationship goal indeed.
He Has Some Ventures Outside Of Rapping
Looking at Kendrick Lamar’s whopping fortune of $75 million, you might be curious whether he has some other businesses. And yes, he does! Kendrick Lamar announced his creative agency, pgLang, with frequent collaborator Dave Free early last year. While the rapper was very mysterious about what the company’s work would entail, the website reveals that it is specialized in music, film, television, art, books, and podcasts. Their mission is to deliver “stories that speak to many nations, many races, and many ages”.
After a year, though remains lowkey, it seems like Lamar’s company is finally ready to peel back the layers. Here is a teaser of pGLang’s first campaign with Calvin Klein:
pGLang For Calvin Klein
“Live Your Life, Live It Right”
That’s everything you might not know about the rapper, from how tall is Kendrick Lamar to his personal life outside the limelight. Just as he said, Lamar always lives his life right. The rapper, like most artists, has to deal with childhood trauma, fear of success, and many other hardships. While some need drugs to escape or let themselves succumb to a destructive path, according to Lamar, he just needs a new microphone. In other words, Lamar’s passion for rapping is what soothes him.
As for what’s next: “I don’t know,” he says. “And that’s the most fun part, the most beautiful part.” Well, we indeed don’t need any expectations because we know that whatever he brings to the table, he will find a way to amaze us.