Kendrick Lamar: "If you don't have drive, you are going to fall short"
Kendrick Lamar was a straight-A student who spent years honing his craft in his bedroom, and says practice is what gave him the edge over his peers.
The Compton-born rapper said: "I did a lot of practice. This is what gave me the advantage over my friends who were doing music at the time. It was all I could really think about doing.
"It taught me the value of work ethic, you could be as talented as you want to be, God can give you this gift, but if you don't have the drive behind it, you're going to fall short."
Sitting down with Mary Anne Hobbs on BBC 6music, he revealed what life was like growing up in the same notorious Los Angeles county that spawned Dr Dre and Ice Cube, when he first started to write lyrics and why Michael Jordan is his hero.
"School was pretty fun for me. I knew when it was time to press the button and get the grade," says Lamar.
"I was in seventh grade, I had an English class and a teacher by the name of Mr Inge and he would give us these poetry assignments, and there was one particular homework assignment what I didn’t do and I said to myself, 'when I get to school I’m going to write it as fast as possible', and I did. I had like ten minutes until I had to turn it in, so I did it and I turned it in.
"Later that day, he was passing out the grades and I was looking at my friends going ‘man, I got a D, I got a C’ and I looked at it and it was an ‘A’. From that moment on I knew I had a gift to put words together and draw my inspiration out on a piece of paper, that was the beginning of when I started writing actual lyrics."
He's now a Grammy-award winning artist, but one of his earlier songs is about his hero Michael Jordan.
When asked why he idolises the basketball legend so much, he said: "I thought he could do anything and everything and without him being into music, that’s what prompted me to do music and want to be the best at it as I always felt whatever he did, he wanted to be the best at it.
"Basketball, baseball, selling shoes, he’s the best at everything, he was definitely my hero."
In his first performance since the release of his critically acclaimed album To Pimp A Butterfly, Lamar stole the show at Wireless Festival. Enrapturing the 50,000 strong crowd with his high-energy set, his fans chanted 'King Kendrick' in appreciation.