Kendrick Lamar, the rapper who emerged from 2012 as the winning rookie, revealed the backstory to a key song off his debut album good kid m.A.A.d. city.
One of the more somber records on the album, “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” rips a dramatic moment from Kendrick’s real life.
“It hits home as far as the past memories of tragic situations that happened in my life,” Kendrick explains to Life + Times’ Decoded. “That one particular situation is my homeboy getting smoked while I’m right there. And I’m the last one right there as he takes his last [breath].”
On “Sing About Me” Kendrick raps from the viewpoint from the surviving brother who was thankful for Kendrick’s loyalty.
“His brother [is] just thanking me for being right there and wishing that he could’ve found a passion in something, maybe music, maybe sports, but you know, him recognizing the fact, the truth that he was in too deep… The craziest part about that verse, and in real life, is him saying ‘If something happens to me before your album drop, just make sure you mention and tell this story in a positive light.’ That’s exactly what I did, he definitely passed too.”
Kendrick identifies the moment was a turning point for him.
“That’s where the reality check hit,” he says. “For me to think the way I do, I had to come from a dark space.”
Lamar’s critically acclaimed first disc, good kid m.A.A.d. city reached 500,000 in sales before the year closed. The album, which was released on October 22 sold more than 230,000 units in its first week and kept up a steady flow since.
E. Parker, CBS Local