The star of Kendrick Lamar is still shooting high into the sky, even after dropping two albums with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label to critical acclaim.
Sitting down with legendary producer Rick Rubin (who’s worked with the likes of the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Eminem and Kanye West among others) for GQ Style, King Kendrick revealed his approach to music no longer involves listening to the listeners.
“I used to consider the listener. But now I’m in a space where if I’m not inspired, I can’t really do the music. I can’t feel it,” said Lamar.
“I put in enough hours to be able to pen a hundred-bar verse on the spot at any given moment. But for me to actually feel an idea, it has to come from me. And a lot of times, I have to block out different needs and wants just for my own selfish reasons. But at the end of the day, it comes out where, whether you like it or not, you know it comes from a real place. It’s gonna feel unapologetic, uncompromising, and it’s gonna feel me.”
While his creative approach may have changed over the years, he’s still acceptant of his fans and respects their support and opinions, stemming from his own experiences as a purveyor of music.
“We’ve been told to call the consumers dumb, but they’re not. They know when it’s real. And that’s something that I always understood, just from being a fan myself,” said Kendrick.
“I could talk about anything. That is the challenge for me. Being able to talk about anything and make it connect to a listener. Where a listener can either feel like you or feel like they understand you. Talking to a little kid and making that feel like something. Or saying the most brutal, harsh things on a record, where, you know, society may not want to hear it. That’s what music is about for me.”
In true hip-hop form, one fourth of the Black Hippy collective (made up of fellow TDE artists Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q) is nobly willing to speak his mind no matter the repercussions.
“I always said to myself, if I said it on a record, I never retract my statements,” said the formerly known K-Dot. “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.”
The fascinating interview sees Kendrick cover a range of topics including how Eminem provided clarity for him at an early age, the social impact of his sophomore Aftermath release ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, the importance of his circle of friends and why he meditates, among other things.
The full interview can be read here.