Much has been made of Kendrick Lamar’s upbringing in California’s notorious city Compton. Now, in a recent interview with VEVO and McDonald’s, the Black Hippy rapper explains how his family anchored his music and life in the CPT.

K. Dot explained that not only did his parents raise him on a variety of Hip Hop and R&B acts, but they also instructed him to maintain a positive and socially conscious outlook. He said that it’s because of them that he’s been able to make the kind of music he now makes and preach his message.

“I grew up in Compton, the west side of Compton…[and] my moms and my pops were influential,” he said. “They played everything for me – gangsta rap to oldies. You’d hear Snoop, Dre, and then you’d hear Marvin Gaye on the next track. I’d stay in my corner, and eventually, they’d say, ‘What you’ve got to do in life is find something positive. You know what reality really is.’ Nothing is never sugar coated around here; [you] wake up every morning and pray to God that you see another. They really support me the most because they know at the end of the day, it’s a turn-around I’m trying to put on with the music and this mad city. That’s why I’ll be able to walk through Compton…and people will give me that respect and th[ey] salute.”

Check out the full interview below.

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