Kendrick Lamar’s Childhood Home in Compton Is for Rent
Kendrick Lamar, deemed “arguably the most talented rapper of his generation” by Rolling Stone last year when he was 27, has written and spoken often of growing up in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, which just this past weekend awarded him the Key to the City. Last night his trenchant Grammy performance burned up the stage (almost literally), closing with Lamar silhouetted against the African continent under the word “Compton.”
“Everything that I do is a reflection of how I felt when I was younger,” he said in accepting the Key to the City.
And this is the place he has in mind: the house where he grew up, at 1612 West 137th Street in Compton. It’s six blocks from Tam’s Burgers — “where I seen my second murder, actually,” he told Rolling Stone. “Eight years old, walking home from McNair Elementary. Dude was in the drive-thru ordering his food, and homey ran up, boom boom — smoked him.” (Tam’s is the same restaurant where Suge Knight is said to have run over two men in the parking lot.)
The house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,200 square feet, and it’s up for rent at $1,895 a month.
“It’s a hell of a neighborhood,” one old-timer told Rolling Stone.
Josh Eells’ whole profile is excellent, but here are some sections relevant to Kendrick Lamar’s childhood home:
“On his breakthrough album, 2012’s ‘good kid, m.A.A.d City,’ Lamar made his name by chronicling this neighborhood, vividly evoking a specific place (this same stretch of Rosecrans) and a specific time (in the summer of 2004, between 10th and 11th grade). It was a concept album about adolescence, told with cinematic precision through the eyes of someone young enough to recall every detail. …
"Lamar has a lot of good memories of Compton as a kid: riding bikes, doing back flips off friends’ roofs, sneaking into the living room during his parents’ house parties. ('I’d catch him in the middle of the dance floor with his shirt off,’ his mom says. 'Like, "What the … ? Get back in that room!”’) …
“He was so precocious his parents nicknamed him Man-Man. 'I grew up fast as [expletive],’ he says. 'My moms used to walk me home from school — we didn’t have no car — and we’d talk from the county building to the welfare office.’ 'He would ask me questions about Section 8 and the Housing Authority, so I’d explain it to him,’ his mom says. 'I was keeping it real.’ …
”'I’m going to be 100 percent real with you,’ Lamar says. 'In all my days of schooling, from preschool all the way up to 12th grade, there was not one white person in my class. Literally zero.’ Before he started touring, he had barely left Compton; when he finally did, the culture shock threw him. 'Imagine only discovering that when you’re 25,’ Lamar says. 'You’re around people you don’t know how to communicate with. You don’t speak the same lingo. It brings confusion and insecurity. Questioning how did I get here, what am I doing? That was a cycle I had to break quick. But at the same time, you’re excited, because you’re in a different environment. The world keeps going outside the neighborhood.’ …
“He still hasn’t splurged on much: So far his biggest purchase is a relatively modest house in the suburbs east of L.A., which he bought for his parents more than a year ago. Top Dawg [Anthony Tiffith, CEO of Lamar’s label] says that at first his mom didn’t want to take it, because it meant giving up their Section 8 status. Kendrick had to reassure her: 'It’s OK, Mom. We’re good.’ ('It was hard times, and we’ve been through a lot,’ says Kenny [Duckworth, Lamar’s father]. 'But like Drake said: "We started from the bottom, now we’re here.”’)“
Click here to read Rolling Stone’s full 2015 cover profile of Kendrick Lamar.
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