In a recent interview with Billboard, Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar shares his views on the hip hop, his rap career and his plan to walk away as the big winner of the 2016 Grammy’s after scoring 11 nominations. [FYI: In 2014, Lamar received seven Grammy nominations. However, he didn’t get nominated in three categories most felt he should have been included best new artist, best rap album and best rap performance. He subsequently lost to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.] Peep excerpts below.
On how he feels about the 2014 Grammy snub:
[The Grammy defeats] would have been upsetting to me if I’d known that was my best work, if I had nothing new to offer. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is great work, but it’s not my best work. To Pimp a Butterfly is great. I’m talking about the connection the record made. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City made a connection. But To Pimp a Butterfly made a bigger connection.
Accomplishments on “How to Pimp A Butterfly”:
The album just had a deeper impact than I expected, because it touched so many homes, and not just in my own community. I guess I’m just speaking words that need to be heard in these times.
How he feels about the state of rap:
When everybody looks at our generation of kids, they always call us the misfits — you know, like we just don’t give a damn. But these individuals, they show that we do have some sense. Our generation just needs the proper people to tell us about our problems, about our wrongs and our rights.
On what he thinks about the internet playing apart in Drake or Kanye’s most recent rap beefs:
[He laughs.] That’s not my talent. Those guys, they’re gifted in that department. Hopefully, I’ll get them talents. But for now I’ma stay in my lane.
On his encounter with Sly Stone:
Sly told me: ‘It’s in you.” I wanted to have a time capsule on the record. But I knew it would be fresh because a fresh kid is doing it. I said: ‘That’s what’s going to make it new — my lyrics and my words.’
What we can expect on this new album:
As far as content, what I want to get across, I have an idea. But even that’s still premature. Once I get back in that studio, things evolve into other things.
How hip-hop has pressured him:
I’ve felt that pressure in Compton, looking at the responsibility I have over these kids. The world started turning into a place where — where so many were getting no justice. You got to step up to the plate. ‘Mortal Man’ is not me saying, ‘I can be your hero.’ ‘Mortal Man’ is questioning: ‘Do you really believe in me to do this?’
His meeting with President Obama at the White House:
The way people look at me these days — that’s the same way I looked at President Obama before I met him. We tend to forget that people who’ve attained a certain position are human. When [the president] said to my face what his favorite record was — I understood that, no matter how high-ranking you get in this world, you’re human.
What he learned from President Obama:
No matter how high the pedestal you reach, we all still like a beat. Even the president has got to hear that snare drum.
Click here for the full interview.