Problem facebook.com/itsaproblem

Compton may be best known as the home of gangsta rap and an epicenter of gang activity, thanks to the work of N.W.A., Eazy-E, Compton's Most Wanted, DJ Quik, Game and others. But for Problem, the up-and-coming rapper featured prominently on E-40’s West Coast smash “Function,” the area has changed.

“I’m representing something new,” says Problem, who has been busy promoting his mixtape “Welcome To Mollywood." “I’m not gang-banging. We’re not about negativity over here. It’s about fun, enjoying where you’re from and loving it.”

Problem cites a number of athletes and celebrities, who have come back to his hometown and held charity events, as one of the city’s strong points. New shopping centers and restaurants have opened and become popular destinations.

“It’s a lot more positive than what’s represented and what’s been represented," he says. "We have great schools and it’s a great community. It’s actually a fun place to grow up. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

THREE HOT SPOTS

Nakas Broiler, 1961 West El Segundo Blvd.: "It’s a great breakfast food spot. You better be ready to order, though, because they’ll yell at you if you aren’t."

TGI Friday’s, 1725 S. Alameda St.: "In this area, they’ve also got the big mall-type area that everybody frequents now. It’s close to the college, too."

Downtown Compton: "It just takes somebody to drive through to see that it’s not as bad as you think. I’ve got partners from New York that came down here and they were like, 'This is nice over here.' I was like, 'Yeah. It is.'"

For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter @SorenBaker and check out his author page on Amazon.com.

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