The world is expecting big things from Kendrick Lamar in 2015. But first, he sits down with Billboard as their brand new cover star. Speaking with Gavin Edwards, Top Dawg’s top dog addresses everything from Michael Brown’s death and Iggy Azalea’s place in hip-hop to Malcolm X’s autobiography and the impending apocalypse. K. Dot remained as tight-lipped as ever about that album of his, but he did confirm that he’s almost finished recording it and has finally decided on a title.
See what else we learned from Kendrick’s interview with Billboard below.
Read more below…
+ He has a title for his new album, which is nearly finished:
The first single off Lamar’s new album — which he says he has already named, although he won’t share the title…
Lamar says that “the end is in sight” with his unfinished album, which is bittersweet for him. “My enjoyment is creating the music,” he explains. “Once it gets pressed up, with bar codes on it, then it’s not really fun anymore.”
+ He believes Iggy Azalea has a place in hip-hop:
“She’s doing her thing,” he says. “Let her. People have to go through trials and tribulations to get where they at. Do your thing, continue to rock it, because obviously God wants you here.”
+ He’s been discriminated against by police and believes change “starts from within”:
He also has been treated unfairly by the cops — “plenty of times. All the time.” Asked about the high-profile killings of African-Americans by police in 2014, from Ferguson, Mo., to Staten Island, he says, “I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s f—ked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”
+ He has a name for his crew of collaborators that includes Thundercat, Bilal, Anna Wise and Terrace Martin:
The musicians who joined him on Colbert constitute the core of his vampire crew. “These are guys I’ve been around for years, in the L.A. music circuit,” he says. “This wasn’t a situation where somebody put us together. When you’re playing instruments, all that stuff comes from the soul. It’s real individuals pushing these sounds out. I get that same impact when I push the words out behind it.”
+ The song he debuted on The Colbert Report probably won’t appear on his album:
It’s unlikely to even make the final cut of his feverishly anticipated new album due out in the first half of 2015.
+ He isn’t a big reader, but The Autobiography of Malcolm X taught him important life lessons:
“What do you want your legacy to be at the end of the day?” he says, describing what the book taught him. “Going back and looking at all the great leaders, I tend to put that in my music the same way Martin Luther King did.”
+ He believes the rapture is near:
“We’re in the last days, man — I truly in my heart believe that. It’s written. I could go on with Biblical situations and things my grandma told me. But it’s about being at peace with myself and making good with the people around me.”
+ He lives in a condo near Compton and bought a four-bedroom home for his family:
He lives in a three-level condo not far away from where he grew up in Compton, Los Angeles, although he could easily buy a much nicer home. “I could afford a lot of things,” says Lamar with a laugh. “I wouldn’t know what to do with myself in a mansion.”
(Lamar recently bought a four-bedroom home in Eastvale, an hour east of L.A., as a gift for a family member, although he won’t specify whom).
+ He likes to workout and listen to Marvin Gaye and Rick James
He wakes for an 11 a.m. workout — “sprints and jogging, penitentiary push-ups, things like that” — then naps for another hour or two. If he doesn’t have other obligations, he passes his afternoon listening to music (recently, Marvin Gaye and Rick James)
Awards and accolades are cool, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all:
“That’s not my overall goal,” says Lamar of winning awards. “I appreciate them recognizing me. It’s best to just go and enjoy the festivities.”
Read the full interview here.