Christmas in Compton has been different the last few years. Some changes for the good and some changes for the bad. This year will be one to remember. The 63rd Annual Compton Christmas Parade will have Kendrick Lamar serve as the Grand Marshall for the parade down Compton Boulevard. Kendrick Lamar has done more for Compton so far in his career than any other rapper from the city. The thing about Kendrick Lamar tho, he’s so much more than a rapper. Rapping just seems to be his career option at this time.
Of course the dude is a child of Hip-Hop so it’s only natural he’s at the top of the Rap Game. Hip-Hop saved his life just like it has done for plenty 1st generation college students over the last 20 years, as it’s done for quite a few drug dealers, single mothers, abuse victims and other vulnerable people. I truly believe that Hip-Hop is a gift from God for the people to find some freedom of self-expression and some hope for overcoming the struggle. King Kunta seems to be the Angel that God had to send us so that we can see how to use Hip-Hop for something positive. Every rapper should look at Kendrick’s approach towards connecting with the communities they love to glorify. Rappers would rather exaggerate the harshness of the living conditions instead of putting resources towards fixing the problems. How backwards is that?
King Kendrick is never hard to find. He’s often among common people, students, in the projects, and anywhere else young black kids are at in the community, coast to coast. It’s amazing when you see him in a high school classroom and he barely looks older than the students. If you watch Kendrick Lamar, he doesn’t move the way rappers do. He moves the way a community organizer moves. Kendrick engages the youth like a coach. King Kunta educates like a professor. He leads the people like a Pastor. Kendrick even heals people like a doctor. I would love to hear him on the Jeezy track “God in the Hood” just to hear his Black Power bars.
Since Kendrick Lamar is all of these things, please believe that his community loves him for it. K. Dot makes Compton look great. People really are attracted to the city because they feel connected to the city through his music. Even though Compton has the reputation for being a dangerous city, Kendrick doesn’t make it feel that way on every track. All cities with more poverty than wealth are dangerous. Especially in other countries, but the real ones already knew that. Saturday December 12th the community will come out and there will be zero incidents of violence at the parade. That’s the power of Kendrick Lamar. There will probably be a record high number of non-Compton residents at the parade this year. I expect plenty of visitors because I imagine they are excited about the chance to witness King Kunta in his hometown.
Within two songs of listening to the Kendrick Lamar EP, I told myself that Kendrick Lamar was the musical embodiment of all my Rap Dreams and no matter what, he’d be dope because he’s from the same city as me and he probably sees the world the way I do. The more I listened, the more I connected. The more I listened, the more I realized how much our path’s had crossed and even intersected at times throughout our development in the Hub City. For example, it really started when I enrolled into the Vanguard Learning Center the year AFTER Kendrick graduated. There are other overlaps in our Compton experience and it makes me wonder, if I didn’t move away for six years of higher learning, would he and I have become friends at some point? It’s possible…just like it’s still possible for each of us to continue rebuilding the City of Compton. It’s evident we won’t stop until the community is restored and more improved than ever through our separate and collective efforts.
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