Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar is in the midst of The DAMN. Tour, selling out arenas all over the map in support of his new record — the highest selling album of 2017 thus far. Lamar is a uniquely gifted artist in today’s generation of hip-hop. He combines art with pop and critical acclaim with mainstream success. From his seminal major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d city to this year’s DAMN., he has offered listeners no shortage of thoughtful, inspiring music to gush over. Recently, he sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss his career and life up to this point, tackling subjects from Donald Trump to Taylor Swift.
Kendrick Lamar appears on our latest cover. You can read the story in full at RollingStone.com. The rapper discusses his vices, working with Beyoncé on ‘Lemonade,’ his latest album ‘Damn.,’ the future and more. “You can talk about dreams all day and ‘what I want,’” he says, “but you gotta put an action behind it.” Photograph by Mark Seliger (@markseliger)
In his cover story feature, he opens up about his commercial success, saying, “If I can make one person – or 10 million people – feel a certain type of euphoria in my music, that’s the whole point.” He also goes on to talk about the responsibility he felt as kid to be more, and how that prepared him for stardom: “I would hurt myself and they would expect me not to cry. That put a lot of responsibility on me, got me ready for the responsibility my fans put upon me.” Lamar was expected at an early age to behave at a heightened level of maturity, thus building the foundation for his devoted rap career.
Lamar also talks about how speaking on Donald Trump at this point is “like beating a dead horse.” Rather than talking, he encourages his fans to take action and to reflect — “that’s where the initial change will start from.” Additionally in the interview, the rapper speaks on the contentious line in his single, “ELEMENT.,” “There’s a difference between black artists and wack artists.” He defines a wack artist as someone who “uses other people’s music for their approval.” In Lamar’s view, if you use a ghostwriter, that’s okay, just don’t claim to be the best rapper.
The interviewer went on to ask Lamar about his collaboration with Taylor Swift on “Bad Blood,” and whether or not that meant he was siding with her over Katy Perry in the two singer’s pop beef. “No, I wasn’t aware of that, bro,” replied Lamar with laughter.
The interview closes on a more personal note, with Lamar addressing the future and his optimism for it: “As long as I’m dedicating myself fully to my potential and this gift, there’s nothing else to think about. I can go to sleep peacefully. I can check out with a peaceful conscience.”