''You Don't Really Know Me...''
6:00AM ET March 13th, 2012
Contributor : Todd Williams
A Rocky Williform Company
Kyla Pratt came of age in the public eye.
A star since her appearance in the Eddie Murphy vehicle Dr. Dolittle back in 1998, Pratt's teen years were spent co-starring on the UPN sitcom "One On One" alongside Flex Alexander. Having watched her grow up on television, a large number of Pratt's fanbase was shocked to learn in late 2011 that she was the mother of a baby girl and was in a serious relationship with a Los Angeles-based rapper named K.P. aka IamCOMPton.
The public had trouble reconciling the teen queen persona they were familiar with the very real grown woman Kyla had become.
"I feel like we both get a lot of slack for that," she tells HipHopBlog regarding she and Compton's relationship. "A lot of that 'I can't believe she's with him' stuff. But you don't really know me. You don't really know him."
The young man born Danny Kirkpatrick has a story all his own. Growing up in an area as notorious as Compton, CA; Kirkpatrick (aka IamCOMPton) knew early on that he wanted to take a different approach than many of his peers. "Growing up in the city, I wasn't really a fan of gangsta rap--because I was around it," he explains. "When you're around it like that, its not too fun." Kirkpatrick's approach initially included athletics, as he was a star receiver in high school and landed a scholarship to the University of Missouri. "I kinda messed up when I was out there," he reveals. "I was in a whole new location, fresh outta high school. I was playing receiver and DB and I ended up…catching a little case out there. I ended up losing the scholarship and having to go back home to Cali. My whole football thing stopped right there."
As K.P.'s athletic career stalled, he decided to make music more of a priority--and he decided to showcase a different side of his city. "What I love about his music and the way he looks at things is he's always said 'I wanna give my city a good image, I wanna bring their image up,'" Kyla says. "He does have certain songs where he's storytelling and talking about what he's seen and what's happening; but he also has those songs where its not all that gangbanging. [It's] 'lets just party and have fun.'"
"I've seen the street part of it," Kirkpatrick adds. "I wasn't into promoting it because I was living around it and it wasn't fun. I just adapted to the environment I was in." But it would be wrong to assume K.P. has anything but love for Compton. He even changed his name to reflect his loyalty to his home. His stage moniker switched as more and more associates began to refer to him by his hometown. "It just stuck," he says.
Both he and Kyla are quick to stress that they aren't so different from each other. But when Compton released the single "Superhead" to YouTube, a lot of the public response centered on the song's sexually-explicit themes and the rapper's association with an actress known for her squeaky-clean public persona. "A challenge for him is my image,'" she says. "Everybody looks at me like 'Oh, the little princess.' I go to work and they talk about how much I cuss. [laughs] I guess its because I was young [when I started] but finally [as] I've gotten older, I constantly have to remind people on Twitter I'm just a regular person with an extraordinary job. I don't know who [people] expect me to be. I'm the same as anyone."
An accomplished tattoo artist in L.A., Compton's method for introducing the public to his music has helped him gauge what audiences want. "When I'm doing somebody's tattoo, I play my music and I don't tell 'em its me," he shares. "I just throw my songs in there with a mixture of different people's songs that they listen to on the radio. And when I see them bob their head or they ask 'Who is this?,' I know for a fact that they like the music."
For the two of them, staying grounded and committed to each other has been key. They maintain a healthy relationship for each other and for their daughter, Lyric. "We just try to have fun and focus on love and not on the opinions of others," Pratt says. "We have my daughter and he has a five-year-old son, so we have to maintain our sanity for them. People have opinions and that's fine. I have my opinions on other people. But its not my business to put my opinion out there. Why do I care what you have got going on?"
"We try to do everything that we wanna do and stay focused and stay on the right path," she adds. "Because the only time you don't succeed is when you let other people f**k it up for you."
"Every time I look at her, I feel like we both complement each other," he says. "Best of both worlds. Stuff she don't know about, I school her on. Stuff I don't know about, she schools me on." Compton adds with a smirk: "All she was missing was the street side."