It continues to be a momentous year for Kendrick Lamar, who just launched his DAMN. World Tour with support from Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. In addition to beginning the biggest tour of his career, K-Dot also sat down with comedian Dave Chappelle for Interview magazine. The cover story and conversation detailed Kendrick’s creative process, an in-depth look reflection of the making of ‘Duckworth”, his ascent to fame, and more.
From early on, Kendrick Lamar has been hailed as a West Coast rapper with immense potential. After guest versing for other rappers, he finally released his first full major label record good kid, m.A.A.d city, an album which launched him out of his native Compton, went platinum, and accrued Kendrick seven Grammy nominations. Since then, Kendrick has used his music as a medium to not only speak on behalf of what he knows, where he came from, but as a device of contemplation, a space where he can confess his fears, distractions, and mounting pressure to stay in touch with where he came from while trying to be the best rapper of his time.
Chappelle ventured to ask Kendrick about his “altitude sickness”, of the pressure that comes with fighting your way to the top. Kendrick replied, “The more people I meet, the more cultures I start to embrace, the more people I open myself up to—it’s a growing process I’m excited about. But it’s also a challenge for me, to be at this level and still be able to connect with somebody who’s living that everyday life. At first it was something I struggled with, because everything was moving so fast. I didn’t know how to digest it. The best thing I did was go back to the city of Compton, to touch the people who I grew up with and tell them the stories of the people I met around the world.”
When asked about the artist’s responsibility and how he feels about representation in his work, a question many rappers face when discussing their music, Kendrick asserted that the primary concern in making music is that he expresses himself, his feelings, his experiences. “I don’t want anybody to classify my music. I want them to say, “This is somebody who’s recognizing his true feelings, his true emotions, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and views on the world, all on one record.” I want people to recognize that and to take it and apply it to their own lives. You know what I’m saying?”
You can read Dave Chappelle’s full interview with Kendrick Lamar here. Next month, Dave Chappelle is hosting a residency at Radio City Music Hall, featuring several special guests throughout including The Roots, Erykah Badu, Chance the Rapper, Lil’ Wayne, and more. For his August 15th date, Dave Chappelle has yet to announce his “very special guest”. And because the comedian is clearly a Kendrick Lamar admirer, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Compton rapper ends up being his guest for that date.