Growing up as a good kid in a mad city, Kendrick Lamar was faced with a lot of tough love. In the streets, he struggled to fit in to Compton’s omnipresent gang culture. At home, he had to face scrutiny from his dad. But now that K-Dot has the #2 album in the country with more than 240,000 records sold, his father couldn’t be more proud.
“He said, ‘You did it. I can’t go at you no more and the reason why I went out you was so you can go harder for yourself,’ ” Lamar told MTV News of his dad’s reaction to his October 22 album release.
Back in 2009, way before he signed with Dr. Dre, Kendrick dropped “Wanna Be Heard,” a mixtape track where he rhymes about the struggles of a teenaged starving artist. “My pop’s got a different approach, yeah he believe/ But he always question when I’m gonna drop my debut CD/ How long it’s gonna take n—a/ You still haven’t ate n—a,” he rapped, recreating sometimes uncomfortable conversations between him as his father.
The way K-Dot remembers it, his old man would get green-eyed watching rappers on television, knowing that many of them weren’t as talented as his son. “Oh yeah, he definitely was jealous because he a street dude. He’s up on all these raps, bumpin’ ‘em all day,” K-Dot recalled. “He don’t know the business side, he just know I ain’t on T.V.”
To honor his parents’ patience and to correctly tell his story, Lamar asked his folks to be a part of good kid, m.A.A.d city and appear on the album’s skits. In between the majority of the songs, the Duckworths appear via voicemail, leaving concerned and sometimes frustrated messages for their son who was getting into trouble in the streets.
“That’s one of the reasons why you hear him on the background on that album, painting that whole story of me then. Him lashing out at me and stuff like that,” he said. “I felt it was only right to add that little small piece to make it all work. Because what listeners are going to do, is they’re gonna double back and say. ‘Oh I get it.’ ”
What’s your favorite track from Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city? Let us know in the comments!