Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Sonya and Robert Solomon Carson. Both parents came from large families in Georgia and were living in Tennessee when they met and married. Carson's mother was only 13 when she married Carson's father, who was 28. Carson's mother subsequently discovered her husband had another family, for which Carson's father eventually abandoned her. This was hard for Carson, Carson went through depression. Following his parents' divorce, when Carson was eight years old, both he and his older brother, Curtis, were raised by their mother, who worked two or three jobs at a time, usually as a domestic servant. They were poor, and his mother occasionally relied on food stamps and other government assistance.