Few artists are given the privilege of penning their own magazine cover story. In the hip-hop world, XXL granted Kanye West the chance to write about himself 5 years ago — and more recently let Kendrick Lamar write his own story.
Just like in his raps, this is another chance for K. Dot fans to can get an unfiltered beam of honesty from the mind of Compton’s golden child.
A lot of times in interviews, people ask me things like, “How does it feel now? What have you bought your mom and your pops and family?” Nobody ever really asks about what it’s like trying to adapt to fame and money and how much of a depression it can make for you. How much of a depression it could put you in knowing that so many kids hang on to your words. I can’t make a song like “i” without being in that dark place.
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“i” comes from going overseas, going to New York, being in L.A. and hearing kids saying, “Kendrick, I was gonna kill myself last week. Section.80, good kid, m.A.A.d city saved my life.” Or “I was gonna kill myself tonight until I came to your show.”
I believe that they are telling the truth. At first I wasn’t so sure, maybe it was just they were excited to meet me. But then they showed me their wrists and had all these different scars from when they tried to take their lives but failed. Or I look into their eyes and their pupils are dilated and they on all these types of meds and drugs, it’s a whole different story to me. That’s when I learned that while I’m making music for myself, drawing from my own experiences and conflictions and battles within myself, this teenager listens to every word I say. And that’s spooky.
I think one of my biggest battles within myself is embracing leadership. You always grow up and you hate the term “role model.” You would say, “I don’t wanna be a role model. I don’t want none of that.” But in actuality, you are the biggest role model. It’s impossible to fight the title of role model. Especially when the type of music I make is so personal. People feel like they can relate to me or that they are me. They feel like they know my whole life story even though we from different worlds. So when I go out and meet them in public, I don’t get a response like, “Kendrick, will you sign this real quick?” Or, “I wanna just take this picture with you.” No, they want to have full conversations. I find out that they live their lives by my music and that right there is something.
Read Kendrick’s full story at XXLMAG.com
Kendrick Lamar Covers ‘XXL’