Kendrick Lamar has opened up about the connection between his artistic profession life and his childhood spent growing up in Compton. The rapper recently provided a rare interview with The New York Times, noting that he does not use social media.
The profile piece concerns Kendrick’s childhood friend and frequent collaborator, Free Dave, who Kendrick admits a certain degree of honour is owed. Discussing his and Free’s upbringing, Kendrick said, “It’s nature versus nurture. I was nurtured in an environment where there’s, like, a lot of gang mentality. That certain language, certain lingo. How we walk. How we talk.”
He added, “All the little nuances and in-speaks that I have in Compton. I have that. That’s not going nowhere. That’s why I can go into any environment, any type of street environment, and be able to still connect even at this high of a level, as the son that never leaves. That’s nurture.”
Kendrick went on to talk about other rappers who are too tied to their childhood neighbourhood, so they can’t break free of the mould. He said, “A lot of these artists, they want to be expansive, but they so tied into what they homeboys will think about them or their belief system. I know, because I was once there, but I got out of that mentality as a teenager, my teenage years. These cats still be 30, 40 years old and still trying to hold up a certain image.”
On why he doesn’t use social media too much, he added, “My social media, most of the time, is completely off. Because I know, I can easily smell my own [shit]. Like, I’m not one of those dudes that be like, Oh, yeah, I know how good I am, but I also know the reason why I’m so good is because God’s blessed me with the talent to execute on the talent, and the moment that you start getting lost in your ego, that’s when you start going down.”