Kendrick Lamar opens up about a multitude of topics in a rare extensive interview for Vanity Fair (June 28). Kung Fu Kenny touches on his ascension, being named after The Temptations' Eddie Kendricks, winning a Pulitzer Prize, Kanye West's recent antics, and much more.
Earlier in 2018, K. Dot became the first non-classical or non-jazz artist to take home a Pulitzer Prize. He didn't think it was a possibility in hip-hop, but is appreciative of the recognition as a trailblazer.
“It was one of those things I heard about in school, but I never thought I’d be a part of it. [When I heard I got it], I thought, to be recognized in an academic world…whoa, this thing really can take me above and beyond. It’s one of those things that should have happened with hip-hop a long time ago,” Kendrick claims. “It took a long time for people to embrace us — people outside of our community, our culture — to see this not just as vocal lyrics, but to see that this is really pain, this is really hurt, this is really true stories of our lives on wax.”
He added: “And now, for it to get the recognition that it deserves as a true art form, that’s not only great for myself, but it makes me feel good about hip-hop in general. Writers like Tupac, JAY-Z, Rakim, Eminem, Q-Tip, Big Daddy Kane, Snoop. It lets me know that people are actually listening further than I expected. When I looked up at that man on the podium today, I just had countless pictures in my mind of my mother putting me in suits to go to school. Suit and tie, from the dollar store, from thrift shops, when I was a kid.”
The Compton native shed some light on Kanye West's support of Donald Trump and his controversial appearance on TMZ Live where he claimed slavery “sounds like a choice.” West later doubled-down on the fact his statements were misrepresented during a recent interview with The New York Times.
“He has his own perspective, and he’s on this whole agree to disagree thing, and I would have this conversation with him personally if I want to,” Kendrick says, following a long pause.
The 31-year-old mentions his disdain for the NFL since viewing how they handled Colin Kaepernick and the National Anthem protests. “I’m less enthused. It’s enraging; I think what [Colin Kaepernick] is doing is honest, and it’s not just his truth, it’s our truth,” Lamar quips.
Kendrick also exuded high praise for Eminem's lyrical ability. “Eminem is probably one of the best wordsmiths ever. There’s a whole list of why, but just bending words. The Marshall Mathers LP changed my life,” he admits.