Comedian Dave Chappelle recently sat down with Compton rap star Kendrick Lamar for an in-depth discussion via Interview Magazine. Chappelle’s launch into the spotlight came with his sketch comedy series The Chappelle Show, which premiered on TV the same year that Lamar dropped his first mixtape, Y.H.N.I.C. While the two artists may practice different forms of self-expression at different points in their respective careers, it’s revealed their creative processes overlap in several areas.
The two spoke at length about self-expression, asking each other about where their inspiration comes from and who they have in mind while they’re writing. Speaking to Lamar, Chappelle asks, “When you write, how much do you think about the repercussions of anything you might say?” Lamar replies with a comparison to comedy: “When I look at comedy—at Richard Pryor, at you—it’s all self-expression. I apply that same method to my music.” Speaking about who Lamar writes his music for, he says that “the music isn’t for me.” Rather, it’s for “people who are going through their struggles and want to relate to someone who feels the same way they do.”
Later in the interview, Chappelle brings up the rapper Mos Def, and how the two argue about whether or not an artist has a responsibility for their influence. Lamar weighs in, saying, “As I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve learned that my mission statement is really self-expression. I don’t want anybody to classify my music.” The two also speak on “DUCKWORTH.,” the closing track of DAMN., Lamar’s brilliant new album, in which he documents a near-fatal confrontation between his father and label head prior to his career as a rapper. Chappelle called it “a profound story.”
You can read the full interview here. Lamar is currently on tour in support of his new album — check out dates here. Chappelle will host a series of concerts in August, featuring artists such as Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino. Get more info here. Watch Lamar’s new striking video for DAMN. track “ELEMENT.” below.