Still in full DAMN mode, Kendrick Lamar graces the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone.
On the cover, the Compton rap star rocks a black fur, while delivering a piercing stare into the camera for the August 2017 issue, shot by famed photographer Mark Seliger.
In the issue, where he’s hailed as the “greatest rapper alive,” King Kendrick opens up about everything from President Donald Trump to Drake.
Below are some excerpts. Read the full piece at RollingStone.com.
ON DONALD TRUMP: “It’s like beating a dead horse. We already know what it is. Are we gonna keep talking about it or are we gonna take action? You just get to a point where you’re tired of talking about it. It weighs you down and it drains your energy when you’re speaking about something or someone that’s completely ridiculous. So, on and off the album, I took it upon myself to take action in my own community. On the record, I made an action to not speak about what’s going on in the world or the places they put us in. Speak on self; reflection of self first. That’s where the initial change will start from.”
ON WACK ARTISTS: “How would I define a wack artist? A wack artist uses other people’s music for their approval. We’re talking about someone that is scared to make their own voice, chases somebody else’s success and their thing, but runs away from their own thing. That’s what keeps the game watered-down. Everybody’s not going to be able to be a Kendrick Lamar. I’m not telling you to rap like me. Be you. Simple as that. I watch a lot of good artists go down like that because you’re so focused on what numbers this guy has done, and it dampers your own creativity. Which ultimately dampers the listener, because at the end of the day, it’s not for us. It’s for the person driving to their 9-to-5 that don’t feel like they wanna go to work that morning.”
ON GHOSTWRITERS: “It depends on what arena you’re putting yourself in. I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter. If you’re saying you’re a different type of artist and you don’t really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won’t be there.”
ON LEARNING FROM BEYONCÉ: “She’s a perfectionist. Think about the BET performance. She was very particular – the lighting, the camera blocking, the transition from the music to the dancing. It was confirmation of something I already knew.”
ON FUTURE: “He’s his own genius. I’ve watched him in the studio. The way he comes up with the melodies is [snaps fingers] like that, you know. You have to speak a certain type of language and also have a great study in music – the same way I have – for what he’s done. I’m sure he’s grown up off a ton of R&B. Watching him come up with the melodies, that’s a whole other ballgame, to understand them sonics.”
ON JAY-Z: “That was my guy. Still is. I’m still a fan. That was just a page I took out of his book, to be able to carry a lyric through conversation and make it feel like I’m sitting right here talking to you.”
ON ANDRÉ 3000’S SINGING INFLUENCE: “For my generation, it would definitely have to be André 3000. He was the first guy. We’d come home from school and he’d be rapping on TV one day, then you came home a week later and he has a song called ‘Prototype,’ which just blows our mind away, you dig what I’m sayin’?”