Lamar’s father was a member of Chicago’s notorious Gangster Disciples, but fled to L.A. to escape that life. Of course, he landed in Compton, and Lamar’s childhood was characterized by guns, crack, anger, and fear. He never partook in and is adamantly opposed to the life, but, surrounded by it, is empathetic to its trappings. It’s a jarring theme on the album – I can’t remember the last time I experienced a piece of art about the experience of being within and without something so desperately. Illmatic? The Third Man? The Great Gatsby? I’m only half kidding. If half.