When considering hip-hop artists hailing from Compton, several names immediately come to mind: Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Quik, Game, and, notably, Kendrick Lamar.
However, it might surprise you to learn that Kendrick’s parents, Kenny and Paula Duckworth, are both originally from Chicago and made the move to Compton in 1984, a few years before Kendrick was born.
In an interview with Kendrick, he revealed that his mother grew tired of his father’s involvement with the South Side gang known as the Gangster Disciples. This dissatisfaction led the couple to relocate to California, seeking an escape from the streets of Chicago.
Kendrick Lamar: She said, ‘I can’t fuck with you if you ain’t trying to better yourself. ‘We can’t be in the streets forever.’ They were going to go to San Bernardino. But my Auntie Tina was in Compton. She got ’em a hotel until they got on their feet, and my mom got a job at McDonald’s. Eventually, they saved enough money to get their first apartment, and that’s when they had me.
The Trials of Kendrick Lamar | Rolling Stone
After moving to their new home, the family would soon find out, the streets of Compton were just as fierce as Chicago. As told by Kendrick in the masterful “DUCKWORTH.” his dad was working at KFC when it was robbed by Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith. In a crazy turn of events, Top Dawg would spare Kenny’s life and go on to sign his son to Top Dawg Entertainment many years later.
Kendrick: About a year after I met Top Dawg. I met him when I was 16. My pops came to the studio after I’d been locked in with him for a minute and we got a relationship now, bring my pops through. He heard I was dealing with Top Dawg but my pops personally don’t know him as Top Dawg, the industry know him as Top Dawg. So when he walked in that room and he seen that Top Dawg was this guy, he flipped. Still ’til this day they laugh and they laugh and they trip out and they tell the same story over and over to each other.
Kendrick Lamar Tells the Real Story Behind the ‘DAMN.’ Standout “DUCKWORTH.” | Okayplayer