Kendrick Lamar doesn’t do a ton of interviews, but when he does speak out, gems are guaranteed. His latest interview with the New York Times‘ T Magazine is no different as the TDE rapper discusses the important of faith and family — especially in these uncertain times — while touching on his massively awaited new album. K. Dot doesn’t give too much away, but he does say this new record is going to be “urgent” and is about learning to accept the actions of people we love, even if we don’t condone them.
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Lamar has said in various moments that his records reflect his preoccupations. I asked him what’s been on his mind.
“Been thinking about my little brothers. One little brother, he bigger than me, he’s 22. Another brother, he just turned 11. Family.” Lamar paused, picked it up again. “I think now, how wayward things have gone within the past few months, my focus is ultimately going back to my community and the other communities around the world where they’re doing the groundwork. ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ was addressing the problem. I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem anymore,” he said. “We’re in a time where we exclude one major component out of this whole thing called life: God. Nobody speaks on it because it’s almost in conflict with what’s going on in the world when you talk about politics and government and the system.”
I wondered if the new record would engage directly with that conflict.
“It’s very urgent,” Lamar replied.
“This is what goes on in my mind as a writer. One day, I may have a little girl. And it’s a girl in particular — funny you said that. She’s gonna grow up. She’s gonna be a child I adore, I’m gonna always love her, but she’s gonna reach that one point where she’s gonna start experiencing things. And she’s gonna say things or do things that you may not condone, but it’s the reality of it and you know she was always gonna get to that place. And it’s disturbing. But you have to accept it. You have to accept it and you have to have your own solutions to figure out how to handle the action and take action for it.
“When I say ‘the little girl,’ it’s the analogy of accepting the moment when she grows up. We love women, we enjoy their company. At one point in time I may have a little girl who grows up and tells me about her engagements with a male figure — things that most men don’t want to hear. Learning to accept it, and not run away from it, that’s how I want this album to feel.”
Kendrick talks about the inspiration behind his music: