Exclusive Interview With Kendrick Lamar
Host Deuce Malone got a chance to sit down with Kendrick - who the hip hop world is calling "the next best thing" - to talk about growing up in Compton, working with Dr. Dre and how God plays a role in his music.
By making valuable connections after being discovered through YouTube, Kendrick and Dr. Dre ended up in the studio together. Humbled by the experience of working with a hip hop legend and a personal idol, Kendrick says, "It's just an honor, man, because that's a person I've looked up to since I was two. My pop was bumpin' M.W.A. in my ear every day tellin' me, 'Yo, this is what you need to be listening to...this is your life.'"
Honored to be part of the West Coast movement comprised of great new artists that are feeding from the influence and energy of hip hop pioneers like Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and The Game, the rising artist is thrilled that he and other newcomers are getting the recognition they deserve from sites and the streets.
Revealing that he first started writing raps (and hiding them from his mom) at the age of 13, Kendrick admits that he's just starting to accept the reality that his dreams are coming true. "From that moment - writing my very first rhyme all the way up to here - that's what happens when hard work and dedication takes place. When I walked into that room, that's when I knew it was real."
Like many kids in Compton, Kendrick shares that he grew up in a house with both parents and family members who lived the gangsta lifestyle and was surrounded by drugs, crime and violence from an early age. Realizing that it's easy to be sucked into that way of life and expressing that through his songs, Kendrick states, "As a kid, if you see this on an everyday level, you expect it. It's something you're prone to. You get used to it. So, ignorance is bliss."
However, the hip hop artist explains that the main thing that separates him from the street kids and hustlers of Compton is the fact that he had an active father. While many kids grow up without a father figure or with one who doesn't care, Kendrick's dad encouraged him to stay clean and straight on track. "Out of respect to him, I couldn't help but find something positive to do in my life. And it was music, and it's a blessing."
Focused on being a positive and inspiring role model for his listeners, Kendrick also includes his religion and spirituality in most of his songs. "My story is a good kid in a mad city," Kendrick says. "But on the other side it's me battling, trying to know my relationship with God, trying to find my place with him. And I struggle with that, so I tend to put it in my music, whether I'm asking questions about myself, about life, about things I wanna know, or something that I know now, growing up and being wiser.
To hear more from Kendrick Lamar about his booming hip hop career, check out this exclusive interview!