Last year, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented research demonstrating that “youth living in inner cities show a higher prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder than soldiers”. The report estimates that 30% of young people in urban “combat zones” suffer from some form of PTSD.
When a reporter mentioned this to Kendrick Lamar, he nodded and said: “That’s real.” Recently, he was making the video for his new single, Alright, when he was startled by a loud bang. In a split second the successful 28-year-old rapper disappeared and the wary teenager from the streets of Compton, California resurfaced.
“I don’t know if somebody threw a rocket at a trash can or what, but it made a loud-ass popping sound and everybody who was in the car with me ducked,” he remembers. “The instinct to get out the way when you hear a popping sound, that’s real for me. I’m sure it’s real for a lot of artists who grew up in neighbourhoods like that.”
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