Kendrick Lamar Talks Name Change, Growing Up in Compton

June 13, 2011

Kendrick Lamar talks about changing his rap name from K. Dot to his government, and discusses being raised in the C-P-T.

HardKnockTV recently caught up with California up-and-comer Kendrick Lamar. The Compton native discussed how he changed his rap alias from K. Dot to his government name. According to Lamar, the decision came out of trying to grow as a lyricist and make more of an impact on the rap scene.

“I first started rapping when I was 13, and when I said I want to sit down and I want to perfect my craft, I really went after studying all the greats,” he explained. “[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.’ So I woke up one morning and said, the best way to start is to give them me…my name change, my real name…the shit transcended to where I’m putting [my real name] on records and people are accepting it because they cane relate.”

Lamar also discussed his Compton childhood, describing himself as a “good kid in a bad city.” He said that while he did grow up in the notoriously crime-ridden Compton, he was fortunate enough to have a caring father who guided him through his childhood.

“Good kid in a mad city, yeah, that’s something I represent,” he explained. “I feel that we’re all good kids in a mad city. It’s just the circumstances that [are] around us that turn us…evil…whether it’s through gang violence, police brutality…drugs [or] women. It all stems from being a kid and just the shit you’re exposed to. I was exposed to it, too, but I was fortunate enough to have an active pops to show me the stepping stones and…what was right and wrong. Most of the friends I grew up with didn’t have a pops. If they did, they weren’t active.”

The full interview can be seen below.


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