When I first heard the name Kendrick Lamar, I thought to myself, “What the world doesn’t need, another R&B singer.” But after further research, I discovered he was far from that. Straight out of Compton, Kendrick Lamar, is touted as being one of the hottest rappers currently out. His new album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city released today, has already received accolades. Many critics describe his music as being cinematic, that tells the story of growing up in Compton, but not looking down at his environment, but managing to live beyond it.
As a fan of hip-hop, when I listened to Good Kid, m.A.A.d., I was immediately pulled in because of the characters he described, and the everyday settings he was able to weave with his lyrics. Throughout his life, he credits his father for keeping him on track, even though he grew up around a family full of gang members. In a recent interview with HiphopDX, Lamar shared what inspires him.
HipHopDX: In what ways did having a dad active in your life affect your school of thought?
Kendrick Lamar: He had a big role. I think, one of the biggest influences in my life, just off the fact of growing up in Compton, and having all these peers around me with no fathers, and even seeing my homies, the way they grew up and the route they went in, but I couldn’t do nothing to stop it. You know, as a kid, the biggest influence on you is your pops. Not only that, but your pops being an active pops, I grew up around all types of bullshit. My whole family is Crips and Pirus, you know what I’m saying? I always had that right there, but out of respect for my pops, I never jumped into the gang life that was around me. Just outta respect that I have for him. I still got into my ignorant shit and did my rebellious shit, that almost fucked my life over but he was always right there to yank me back into a reality check, you know? He ain’t the most perfect dude in the world, he been through a whole bunch of shit, he just didn’t want me to follow the same steps he went through. So it was a big influence on my thoughts and my music, having him in my life.
DX: What did your father specifically say to you? What did you guys talk about to make you think and rap the way you do?
Kendrick Lamar: Well, shit, I can start back … six years old, him telling me, “All you have in this world is me, your mama…” ‘Cause at the time, I ain’t have no brothers and sisters, so it was just me and them. “At the end of the day, none of these motherfuckers gon’ care about you like we care about you. I know you gon’ grow up and have your feelings about whoever, whether it’s homies in the streets, or whether it’s a female, at the end of the day, all you got is us to fall back on. So if you won’t listen to what I got to say, and you rebel against me, you’ll learn. You’re gonna learn eventually, then you’re gonna come back, and break down what I told you.” And I think that goes for anything as far as life, it goes for choices… That’s my biggest thing, it all goes back to choices that I’ve made, you know? Him telling me that at six years old and me being able to comprehend it.
If your mp3 player is currently void of good rap music, and you enjoy listening to well-woven stories, I definitely suggest adding good kid, m.A.A.d. city to your rotation.