If I told you I killed a nigga at 16, would you believe me?
Or see me to be innocent Kendrick you seen in the street
With a basketball

from Kendrick Lamar (Ft. MC Eiht) – M.A.A.d City Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Kendrick is so much the “good kid”, (now to his fans), but also in relation to his peers, that they would be in disbelief if he said he’d actually committed some pretty serious crime. Of course, it was the influence of his city that made him anything but an innocent child.

This “killing” mentioned by Kendrick does not have to be literal, although it may be. In Ab-Soul’s Outro on Kendrick’s Section 80, he gives us the analogy of “a newborn baby killing a grown man”. In saying this Kendrick is showing that his innocence was corrupted to the most extreme of levels, leaving him fighting since birth. There is also his claim that “as a kid he killed two adults” in Hol' Up.

Despite the metaphorical killings referenced above, Kendrick may also be saying he ‘killed’ Dave by being responsible for his death, as he died seeking revenge for K.Dot.

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