Where is Kendrick Lamar from? Kendrick Lamar is from Compton, California, where he was born Kendrick Lamar Duckworth on June 17, 1987. Kendrick’s hometown holds a special place in hip-hop history, as it’s the birthplace of N.W.A., the group that pioneered gangsta rap in the late ’80s and launched the careers of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Lamar grew up idolizing Dre and his iconic crew, and in the eyes of many fans and critics, the young rapper is heir apparent to the Compton throne. Lamar’s acclaimed sophomore album, “Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City,” came out on Dre’s Aftermath label, and the good doctor appears on the closing track, appropriately titled “Compton.”
Kendrick Lamar’s hometown of Compton is a notoriously dangerous place, but growing up, the aspiring MC managed to stay out of trouble, and before making it famous, he cast his lot with the Black Hippy collective, a stable of talented rhymers also including Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q. In 2010, Lamar dropped the “Overly Dedicated” mixtape, his fourth such collection, and that’s what caught the ear of Dre and ultimately led to his deal with Aftermath. In 2011, he landed on many critics’ radars with “Section.80,” a collection of street-savvy tunes influenced by his experiences in Compton.
Indeed, where Kendrick Lamar is from has never been much of a secret, as he’s rapped about his Compton roots throughout his career. The difference between Lamar and many of his gangsta-rap predecessors is that he paints a more nuanced picture of inner-city life, rapping about sex, drugs, and violence with a thoughtfulness not always found in mainstream hip-hop. No wonder he earned eight Grammy nominations in 2014. Lamar famously lost the Best Rap Album award to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist,” and afterward, Macklemore made headlines by texting his apologies to the Compton MC for stealing a trophy he felt Kendrick deserved. Grammy or not, Lamar is one of the biggest names in hip-hop, and he’s certainly done his hometown proud.