Kendrick Lamar talks Grammys, temptation, and maintaining one's edge in an in-depth interview with the New York Times.
Despite not releasing an album in 2013, Kendrick Lamar managed to keep his name on the tip of everyone's tongue. Whether through his unavoidable "Control" verse, his opening slot on Kanye West's Yeezus tour, or his much-talked about snub at the Grammys, K.Dot kept his profile up throughout the year. The true test now lies with his follow-up to GKMC, which is said to be dropping this year.
In a new profile by The New York times, Kendrick explained his desire to remain edgy in an increasingly conservative industry, the temptation that comes with fame, and his inability to take good news well.
Read some excerpts from the interview below.
On how his stutter inspired his music:
As a kid, I used to stutter. I think that’s why I put my energy into making music. That’s how I get my thoughts out, instead of being crazy all the time.
On the lack of 'edge' in the industry:
If my edge is dull, my sword is dull, and I don’t want to fight another guy whose sword is dull. If you’ve got two steel swords going back and forth hitting each other, what’s gonna happen? Both of them are going to get sharper. Everybody that’s in the industry has lost their edge. There’s really no aggression. You gotta say things particular, and everything is so soft.
On being asked to do the Yeezus tour:
It’s a different kind of thrill when an actual artist asks you, when Kanye asks you. Now I know he’s really interested in what I do.
On his parents:
They came to L.A. on some... Some high hopes. They had like $500. They landed in Compton out of every place in L.A.; I don’t know how. They could have landed in the suburbs or the valley, but they didn’t. My pop did what he had to do. We had good birthdays and good Christmases. I can’t complain.
On experiences with gangs:
I started thinking crazy, and the homies got in my head. It’s the sense of being wanted or being needed. Being in the gang, it’s a certain type of love that you feel at the moment.
On the relativity of temptation:
At 16, temptation can be money: I know money, I want money. Or women: I know women, I want women. Or drugs: I know drugs, I want drugs. Temptation is just the feeling that you’re the most independent person on planet Earth. That you know everything. That’s something that we all go through as a kid. Now, this lifestyle that I’m in, the same thing exists! But it’s 10 times worse, because everything is at my disposal. When you’re in the limelight, you can get anything you want.
On being remembered:
Whenever I get good news about anything... man, I guess I’m bad at receiving compliments. Like yesterday with the nominations, things like that — it made me feel like I had to be in the studio because I had to do it, not again, but... It just bothers me. I don’t want to be something that just comes and goes.
Read the full story at NYT.