Kendrick Lamar has landed another big cover with Rollingstone and looks like he was quite open to discuss a lot of things. The platinum selling and GRAMMY award winning artist is on top of his game right now with his DAMN. album still contending for the number 1 spot on Billboard 200 despite being out for 16 weeks. Not to forget, he continues to sell out arenas for his tour of the same name.
For the 50th anniversary special edition of the prestigious magazine, Kendrick sat down with the interviewer and spoke on his unique influence, how is able to keep himself so mature, the importance of making a good body of work, staying humble, how he came up with the Mike WiLL Made It produced hit, working with Bono, his definition of fun, rappers having ghostwriters, Drake’s music, his trip to Africa and much more.
Read a few excerpts below and check out the full interview on this link.
Do you ever feel like you should be having more fun?
Everybody’s fun is different. Mine is not drinking. I drink casually, from time to time. I like to get people from my neighborhood, someone that’s fresh out of prison for five years, and see their faces when they go to New York, when they go out of the country. Shit, that’s fun for me. You see it through their eyes and you see ’em light up.
On “ELEMENT.” you make that funny distinction between “black artists and wack artists.” What, to you, defines a wack artist?
I love that question. How would I define a wack artist? A wack artist uses other people’s music for their approval. We’re talking about someone that is scared to make their own voice, chases somebody else’s success and their thing, but runs away from their own thing. That’s what keeps the game watered-down. Everybody’s not going to be able to be a Kendrick Lamar. I’m not telling you to rap like me. Be you. Simple as that. I watch a lot of good artists go down like that because you’re so focused on what numbers this guy has done, and it dampers your own creativity. Which ultimately dampers the listener, because at the end of the day, it’s not for us. It’s for the person driving to their 9-to-5 that don’t feel like they wanna go to work that morning.
Is it ever OK for a rapper to have a ghostwriter? You’ve obviously written verses for Dr. Dre yourself.
It depends on what arena you’re putting yourself in. I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter. If you’re saying you’re a different type of artist and you don’t really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won’t be there.
Do you also reject songs just because they don’t fit the album concept?
I’ve done that a lot. I care about the body of work, not just a big single. I come from that era. I can’t shake it, either, no matter how big streaming gets. With streaming, you just gotta have great songs.
What’s your favorite Drake song?
Favorite Drake song [chuckles]. I got a lot of favorite Drake songs. Can’t name one off the back. … He has plenty.
Do you prefer him singing or rapping?