Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Rapper and musician Kendrick Lamar is an accomplished Grammy award winner and songwriter, known for his socially conscious rhymes and religious themes in his music. Although he keeps his personal life private, there are still some things publicly known about the artist.
The rapper’s parents are originally from Chicago and moved to Los Angeles, where Lamar eventually made music under the name K-Dot and was signed to an independent music label before going mainstream.
“They came to LA on some high hopes,” Lamar told The New York Times of his parents. “They had like $500. They landed in Compton out of every place in LA; I don’t know how. They could have landed in the suburbs or the valley, but they didn’t.” Lamar was born in Compton on June 17, 1987.
He has been in a long-term relationship with his high school sweetheart.
“I wouldn’t even call her my girl,” he said of Alford in a 2015 Billboard interview. “That’s my best friend. I don’t even like the term that society has put in the world as far as being a companion -- she's somebody I can tell my fears to.”
He gifted his younger sister a car for graduation.
When his 18-year-old sister, Kayla Duckworth, graduated from high school, Lamar gifted her a practical 2017 Toyota sedan. Despite outside criticism, his sister was happy with her gift, posting it on Twitter.
“I don’t know if it’s the public or it’s kids on the internet that’s 12 years old and 13 and figured, you know, she’s supposed to have a Lamborghini by Kendrick Lamar,” the rapper said in response to the criticism. “Yeah, it’s a trip.”
He is a Christian and regularly expresses his faith in his music.
“I got a greater purpose,” Lamar said in a 2014 interview with Complex. “God put something in my heart to get across and that's what I’m going to focus on, using my voice as an instrument and doing what needs to be done.”
The intro to his second studio album and major-label debut, 2012’s “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City,” opens with a prayer.
Lamar’s 2009 song “Faith,” tackles his struggles with his own beliefs as life weighs on him, including the murder of a friend.
“I’m giving testimonies to strangers I never met / Hopped on the pulpit and told them how I was truly blessed / Felt like I’m free from all my sins when the service was over/ Walked out the church, then got a call that my homie was murdered then lost my faith again,” he raps.
“If I want to idolize somebody, I’m not going to do a scary monster, I’m not gonna do another artist or a human being — I’m gonna idolize the master, who I feel is the master, and try to walk in his light. It’s hard, it’s something I probably could never do, but I’m gonna try,” he said. “Not just with the outfit but with everyday life. The outfit is just the imagery, but what's inside me will display longer.
Lamar’s 2015 single, “Alright,” has become and anthem for Black Lives Matter.
The rapper told The New York Times in 2016 that he realized his song was becoming an anthem for the social justice movement when it was being sung across the world.
“When I’d go in certain parts of the world, and they were singing it in the streets, when it’s outside of the concerts, then you know it’s a little bit more deep-rooted than just a song,” he said. “It’s more than just a piece of a record. It’s something that people live by — your words.”
“Simple phrase: We gon’ be alright. It’s a chant of hope and feeling. I credit that to (musician and producer) Pharrell, for being able to present an arrangement and to inspire me to do a record like that. Immediately, I knew the potential.”