“I avoided gangbanging because I grew up around it. My grandmother had 13 kids. Each one of those kids has five or more kids. I have like 10 older cousins. At one point, we were all living in Compton and all of them were banging. I grew up in a household similar to Caine's in Menace II Society—so seeing that, and seeing how ignorant things can get, it taught me that lifestyle is not the way to go. I was always around older people, so I was a little wiser than my siblings. More than that is the fact that I had a father. All the kids around me didn’t have a pops. The first person you look up to when you come out of that motherfucking pussy is your pops. [Laughs.] Everything you want to do in life, you want to pattern it after your pops. Kids around me didn’t have that. So they go to the big homies down the street. Big Peanut is going to be your pops, and he’s going to show you the same shit he grew up on because he didn’t have a father. I was blessed enough to have an active father in my life. A lot of people have fathers, but they’re not active. I’m still in Compton and have peers that are going through [gang] shit. I just have to balance it out.”

LISTEN: Kendrick Lamar "Average Joe" from O(verly) D(edicated) (2010)