Kendrick Lamar Explains Why He Meditates
If there has ever been anything that comes up that he wishes he didn’t say:
That’s a great question. I always said to myself, if I said it on a record, I never retract my statements. Because it’s my self-expression, and you can have your opinions on it, you can feel a certain type of way, but it’s how I feel. And I can’t contradict that at all.
When he wrote ‘Alright’, if he thought it would be a protest song:
No. You know what? I was sitting on that record for about six months. The beat’s Pharrell. And between my guy Sam Taylor and Pharrell, they would always be like, Did you do it? When you gonna do it? I knew it was a great record—I just was trying to find the space to approach it. I mean, the beat sounds fun, but there’s something else inside of them chords that Pharrell put down that feels like—it can be more of a statement rather than a tune. So with Pharrell and Sam asking me—Am I gonna rock on it? When I’m gonna rock on it?—it put the pressure on me to challenge myself. To actually think and focus on something that could be a staple in hip-hop. And eventually, I came across it. Eventually, I found the right words. You know, it was a lot going on, and still, to this day, it’s a lot going on. And I wanted to approach it as more uplifting—but aggressive. Not playing the victim, but still having that We strong, you know?
Oh who wrote the hook for ‘Alright’:
Yeah, P had the alright. That’s him on the hook. And just saying the alright phrase—what does We are gonna be alright represent? I’m glad that sparked the idea, ’cause that song coulda went a thousand other ways.
Him focusing on lyrics:
The clarity, I got my clarity just studying Eminem when I was a kid. How I got in the studio was all just curiosity. I had a love for the music, but it was curiosity. The day I heard The Marshall Mathers LP, I was just like, How does that work? What is he doing? How is he putting his words together like that? What’s the track under that? An ad-lib? What is that? And then, Why don’t you go in the studio and see? So I do that. Then it became, How’s his words cutting through the beat like that? What is he doing that I’m not doing, now that I’m into it? His time is impeccable. When he wants to fall off the beat, it’s impeccable. These are things that, through experience and time, I had to learn.
His meditation process:
I have to have at least 30 minutes to myself. If it’s not on the daily, every other day, to just sit back, close my eyes, and absorb what’s going on. You know, the space that I’m in. When you in music—and everybody knows this—the years are always cut in half, because you always have something to do. We in the studio for four months, that go by. Now you gotta go on the road for five months, that go by. Next thing you know, five years going by and you 29 years old. You know? So I have to find a way to understand the space that I’m in and how I’m feeling at the moment. ‘Cause if I don’t, it’s gonna zoom. I know. I feel it. And I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It just goes and then you miss out on your moment because you’re so in the moment you didn’t know the moment was going on, if that makes sense.
If he has have anyone around to tell him if something’s not good:
For sure. Man, I’d be head over heels right now if I didn’t have a certain type of grounding. Family, a team that has my best interests—not only in music but as a person. Everyone that’s around me has been with me since I was 15 years old. I know we’ll all grow as people, and I’ll outgrow some people and different natures, but I hope that these same people will continue to grow with me. ‘Cause I can’t stop. You know? I can’t stop.