Kendrick Lamar is one of the most artistically creative rappers in the game today, and it seems he attracts the same type of fans.
Not content with simply having Lamar’s discography, one fan has taken to lyrics website Genius, compiling them into a diary that recounts the experiences of Lamar’s life.
The user, known as Andres Tardio drops a prologue of the diary before blowing all our collective minds.
“From Cornrow Kenny to K. Dot, Kendrick Lamar has given us his life story through his raps. To prove it, we combed through years of the Compton spitter’s rhymes — from early mixtape days to his latest critically acclaimed material — piecing together his life story using only his lyrics. Thanks to his expert storytelling and vivid imagery, we have quite the hip-hop autobiography here. Be sure to click each line to see the source for every quote as you take a trip down K. Dot’s memory lane.”
Tardio then goes onto recount Lamar’s life over six chapters exclusively using his song lyrics. You can read the entire thing here, or read on for our brief summary of the diary below.
PROLOGUE: I AM
An introduction, in which Kendrick notes his heritage, purpose and status.
Chapter 1: good kid (1987-1997)
Kendrick recalls his childhood which involved living in a hotel, flipping burgers as a job and living off welfare payments. Seeing his first dead boy at age 5 and shooting his first gun at age 9 are just some of his early experiences.
Chapter 2: m.A.A.d city (1998-2003)
We are introduced to Kendrick’s high school experiences, as well as the ‘killas’ that he hangs out with. Kendrick voices his frustration at the people he is surrounded by, noting that “I’m not gangster, no killer, I’m just your average Joe, but one thing to consider; I’m the realest you know.”
Chapter 3: BLACK BOY FLY (2004)
Kendrick battles with jealousy and ambition to want to be a rapper. He recalls that “I used to wanna rap like Jay Z until I finally realised that Jay wasn’t me.” After he freestyles on a video filmed by Pop Gates he becomes known as “K-Dot from Compton.”
Chapter 4: WANNA BE HEARD (2004-2007)
Kendrick begins to move out into the public sphere with his music after school. He notes that “Momma believed in me…that’s who I do this for..Pops said I needed a job..security guard for a month, but ended up leaving. In fact I got fired because I was inspired by all my friends to stage a robbery the third Saturday I clocked in…we hit The Lab with The Game and few other names…shortly after The Game took us out on tour.”
Chapter 5: LET ME BE ME (2008-2010)
Kendrick releases his first albums and re-affirms his identity as he gains a following. “This is Kendrick Lamar. No more K.DOT. Fuck a stage name…I’m trying to change the rules we have been confined to, so the corporate won’t make decisions. I’m thinking long-term, trying to build a following. My future so bright.”
Chapter 6: CELEBRATION (2011-2016)
Kendrick’s life has come full circle and he has a fresh outlook. “No more living poor. I can feel the changes. I can feel the new people around me just want to be famous.” Kendrick notes how remaining true to himself is what has gotten him to the point that he is now. “I put my life in these 12 songs, my fight in these 12 songs.” He wraps things up noting that the things that matter to him most are not fame and wealth, but relevance and to have a voice on the issues that matter.
“While my loved ones was fighting the continuous war back in the city, I was entering a new one, a war that was based on apartheid and discrimination. Made me wanna go back to the city and tell the homies what I learned. So I made To Pimp A Butterfly. I told you, my Plan B is to win your hearts before we win a Grammy. Now I run the game got the whole world talkin’. Black man taking no losses.”
Image: Howl & Echoes/Danielle Hansen