There’s the saying that “you’re a product of your environment”, however, you still have a sense of control over who you eventually become in life. Kendrick Lamar was born and raised in Compton, a city that has bred some of the most influential and talented hip-hop artists ever, as well as being a home to a complicated and dangerous gang culture. Even when growing up in on the West Side of Compton, which is a major Blood gang territory, Kendrick Lamar was able to avoid the the distractions of the streets and cultivate his unworldly lyrical talents, which has propelled him to being one of the best rappers of the new generation (his recent five Grammys awards this year’s event, including Best Rap Album for To Pimp a Butterfly, proves this).
Gang culture is part of the lifestyle of many areas within Los Angeles County, especially Compton. Though not as rampant as it was 20 years ago, gangs still have a solid presence. Compton is sometimes referred to as “Bompton” because Blood members would replace the “C”. Even when his closest friends joined local gangs, Lamar elected a different route, which ultimately led him to individual success. However, he continues to stay loyal to his city because he knows that he’s a product of Compton and its the inspiration for his music.
VICE’s music vertical NOISEY produced a short documentary titled “Bompton” that centers around Kendrick Lamar and the longtime friends. “Bompton” takes viewers back to the old neighborhood for a conversation with Lamar about his acclaimed albums, a visit to his old high school, and chat with his childhood friend Lil L. It’s the first episode in an eight part series, NOISEY, on VICE’s upcoming TV network VICELAND. Each episode focuses on a different city, its major stars, and the stories and issues that influence its music scene. Check out “Bompton” below.