Following a huge year for Kendrick Lamar, in which he dropped the platinum-selling DAMN, he lands the cover of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 issue.
On the cover, the Compton rapper gets dapper, while inside, he discusses some of his biggest business lessons and retaining creative control at all costs.
“That’s something I always took upon myself and I promised myself any type of venture or partnership I’m doing with a brand, I have to have … 100 percent creative control on how I want the proceeds to go, and the look and the creative process, and actually what it’s saying, rather than just putting a name and a price tag on it,” Kendrick explains. “Because, at the end of the day, you want something that’s further than the right now and the moment. You want to look back and say, ‘Okay, this red and this blue shoe, it actually did something for the city of Compton, which it has done when I walk back through the city and I see people that I grew up with and certain enemies wearing the shoe.’ And how they embrace the fact, okay, this is culture now.”
“We got somebody that’s representing us that understands us, and value the actual mistakes that we made, as far as value is pushing it forward and moving forward past it,” he continued. “And that was the whole process. So anything that I do as far as branding I have to have that sense of awareness and knowing that it’s just not a price tag.”
When it comes to business Kendrick knows what he’s talking about. In the past five years, he’s raked in about $78.5 million, including $30 million this year.
Elsewhere in the interview, he talks about 50 Cent, hip-hop moguls, Colin Kaepernick and more. Read it at Forbes.com.