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Kendrick Lamar Remembers Witnessing His First Murder at Age 5

Kendrick Lamar Remembers Witnessing His First Murder at Age 5

"It done something to me right then and there," he recalled.

Published December 29, 2015

Gang violence in Compton has always been very real, just ask Kendrick Lamar.

Throughout his musical career, we’ve heard K Dot reflect on the issues his native city faces on the daily, whether it comes through his music, concerts or press interviews. Well, during a recent sit-down with NPR, he recalled the first time he witnessed someone being murdered, which was very jarring considering he was only five at the time it happened.

"It was outside my apartment unit," Lamar told NPR's David Greene. "A guy was out there serving his narcotics and somebody rolled up with a shotgun and blew his chest out. Admittedly, it done something to me right then and there. It let me know that this is not only something that I'm looking at, but it's something that maybe I have to get used to — you dig what I'm saying?"

Kendrick also sadly explained how this past summer has seen the most amount of tragedy for people he grew up with – a lot of whom weren’t even involved in gang violence at the time of their death.

"I've probably lost more friends in this past summer than any other summer,” he said. “One sticks out, Chad Keaton. He was like my little brother; we grew up in the same community. I was actually best friends with his older brother, which is incarcerated right now. And him just always telling me to make sure that Chad is on the right path. And, you know, he was on the right path. But, you know, things happen where sometimes the good are in the wrong places, and that's exactly what happened. He got shot."

During the interview, Kendrick Lamar also explained why he’s screaming in a hotel room on his most recent album, To Pimp a Butterfly and calling himself a hypocrite on "The Blacker the Berry." His song “Alright" became an anthem for Black Lives Matter’s movement against police brutality, which makes his discourse on Black plight in urban neighborhoods that much more meaningful.

Kendrick was also recently nominated for 11 Grammy Awards, including potential honors for Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Rap Album, for To Pimp a Butterfly, which was released in March.

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(Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Written by Paul Meara

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