Arron Afflalo recalls the time he sold Kendrick Lamar a bootleg Jay Z CD in high school

Arron Afflalo


Arron Afflalo
Photo by David Rahr/NBAE via Getty Images

New York Knicks guard Arron Afflalo and popular West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar are very familiar with each other. Afflalo and Lamar, whose surname is actually Duckworth, both hail from Compton Calif., attended the same high school, and Lamar penned a line in his 2012 song “Black Boy Fly,” that mentions the former UCLA Bruin.

I used to be jealous of Arron Afflalo, he was the one to follow,” Lamar rapped, reflecting on their time together at Centennial High, where Afflalo was the man on the court, propelling the school to a state championship.

But is it possible that Afflalo, who made some extra cash during his high school days by peddling bootleg CD’s to his peers, played a part in the musical development of the lyrically virtuosic Lamar by selling him a pirated copy of Jay Z’s classic Reasonable Doubt album? Afflalo talked about his interaction with Lamar in an awesome essay for the Players’ Tribune.

This one guy from my school named Kendrick Duckworth was really into hip-hop. He asked me to burn him Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt. That’s an all-time classic from ’96. You couldn’t just go to the store and buy all these albums, you know? It would cost too much money. But you could come to me and get it for $5.

Kendrick eventually started making his own music. He got pretty good at it, too. You’ve probably heard of him. He goes by the name Kendrick Lamar.

As a huge Jay Z fan, I can’t help but say that Lamar made an excellent choice in “Reasonable Doubt.” I’m more of a “Blueprint,” guy myself due to Jay’s braggadocio raps and hypnotic flows, but “Reasonable Doubt,” is arguably Jay’s fiercest record lyrically, and time has proved it to be an important part of the “mafioso” rap landscape that dominated the 90’s.


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