Kendrick Lamar talks about his sudden rise to fame, "Control," moving out of Compton and more.
Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul all appear on the upcoming October/November issue of XXL magazine. The Black Hippy crew have seen plenty of success this year for all the members, however Kendrick's fame went above and beyond the crew (which is probably why XXL decided to go with the headline "Kendrick Lamar & Black Hippy"-- something Ab-Soul criticized recently).
Check out excerpts below.
Is it really like they say, that it happens fast? Even though youâre moving real slow and thenâ
Yeah, thatâs very true. Thatâs very true. It definitely happens fast, but not fast in the sense, saying you didnât put in the workâIâve been doing this for ten yearsâbut when that light beams on you, it happens fast from an aspect where youâre doing so much every day [that] youâre not really aware of the attention that youâre getting, âcause youâre doing interviews, you do a show, then you do a studio, itâs just a constant, daily plan, so you canât look at yourself. You canât be in the crowd looking at yourself on stage, you know. I can only look in the mirror and know Iâm Kendrick, and see that same little boy I seen seven years [ago], but I canât see what everyone else sees. So more and more, Iâm really unfazed by it as more and more success is hitting me and Iâm not really sure [about it all]. Itâs a tricky thing, for sure.
Speaking of Kurupt, why are you entertaining this âKing of New Yorkâ talk from everybody? Why arenâtÂ you just saying itâs a Kurupt lyric? You said it, so you meant itâ
I think I said everything I need to say onÂ Peter Rosenberg, Hot 97. If people donât get it from there, then I donât feel [I need] to explain myself any more. I think theyâll run it down to the ground rather than me. You know, I just wrote a verse. I think everybodyâs just taking it to the ground and donât want to let it go. I spoke my piece on Hot 97. If people wanna take it further than there, thatâs their entertainment. Iâm on a whole ânother plateau of thinking now. That was just for that moment of writing a verse. Thatâs how I feel about it.
Iâm trying to talk about you in terms of a student of art. You did this thing where you flipped Kuruptâs lyrics, but youâre not bringing that up. Thatâs the shit that makes everybody look really stupid. It just shows your intelligence; if they paid attention they would know [where those lines come from].
Thatâs exactly what it is. I feel like, when youâre a student of it and you have a sense of knowing whatâs going on, you hold other people accountable at knowing whatâs going on, tooâpeople that you respectâso you feel like thereâs no need to explain yourself. If Iâm not gonna explain myself to people that I know, that understand it, I donât feel like itâs needed to explain myself to people thatâs totally oblivious to it. So I just keep my mouth quiet, be a man of few words, and let everybody else go crazy and figure it out themselves, whether it takes tomorrow or it takes ten years from now.
Where do you live out here now? You moved out of Compton, right?
Iâm in LA, still in LA County. I donât think Iâll move too far from LA County. Iâm probably like 20 minutes, 15 minutes out from the city. LA County is still Compton, Long Beach, Watts, West LAâeverything is still 15 minutes away. I want to be stationary still, I didnât want to go and move out to the country or nothing like that. I still got all my peoples, man. I got a lot of people to look afterâthatâs just a responsibility I have on myself; thatâs how I look a it. I donât wanna be too far.
Now that you have a spot, is it like,Â 'This is the crib Iâm having for the next ten years?' Or is it, 'This is the crib Iâm having for now?'
Yeah. Iâm terrible at that. This is for now. Anybody that know me, know Iâll sleep anywhere. Iâll sleep in this corner right now, you feel me? Nah, this ainât one of them dream houses. I can do that [financially]. If I was 17 years old, Iâd spend all my money on a motherfuckinâ big-ass car and a big-ass motherfuckinâ house, with where Iâm at [monetarily]. But Iâm 26 years old, Iâm a little more wiser.
You definitely need something you can maintain. You donât want to get that Dr. Dre-sized house with a pool if you donât got that Dr. Dre-sized bank account.
And that Dr. Dre-sized house with a pool is something serious.
Yeah, and his maintenance fees is like someone elseâs mortgage.
Iâll tell you this: I think my second studio session with Dre, we were at the house recordingâthis isÂ oneÂ of his placesâand I said, âMan, this shit is crazy here. I canât wait to get one of these.â He said âOh, thatâs the easy part. You could get it. Matter of fact, you probably can get it within the next year. The hardest thing is keeping it.â And that totally flipped my whole way of thinking, you feel what Iâm saying? People forget about the whole back end of everything and keeping it up and making sure itâs right, as far as taxes, utilities. Right there, when he told me that, thatâs when our whole relationship switched. It wasnât just us in the studio working, he became almost like a mentor as far as off-the-record talking about life situations and the mistakes I donât need to make being a new cat in the business.
Where do you see the company [TDE] going in the immediate future?
I think itâs really about just expanding. Weâre a small company, man, but we said weâll take this small company and weâre gonna brand it. That was Top Dawgâs whole thing: Take this small company and brand it; brand these artists and brand TDE as a label. Now I think itâs time to take the best foot forward and expand, whether itâs endorsements, TDE films, whether itâs just looking for more raw talent, keeping the culture alive with more new music. Everybody on the West has that thing about them where theyâre students of the game, and want to just continue to branch out from what Snoop and Dre passed to them. I think thatâs really the future for it right now, as far as the next year or two.
You, Q and Ab[-Soul] seem to jump on a lot of peopleâs records. Q has a bromance with Mac Miller, but Mac also has one going on with Earl [Sweatshirt]âthereâs all of these types of weird different connections. But there doesnât seem to be that whole quote-unquote movement like OVO/YMCMB/MMG type of thing. It seems like TDE is still very much TDE and doesnât interact much with OPM or anybody else.
Nah, we definitely do. We definitely rock with them. I think once people start seeing the music come out and then see it on camera more, theyâll understand how weâre doing it, how weâre structuring it. Youâll definitely see it. Definitely, definitely see it. But OPMâDom Kennedy got a project coming out right awayâI donât know when this magazine will be out but itâll be October 1st [Ed. note: Kennedy's album was pushed back to October 15]. Shout out to OPM, shout out to Dom.Â Get Home Safely.