Kendrick Lamar covers the August issue of Vanity Fair. For the cover story, he sat down for the interview a the sold out TDE Championship tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He chops it up about his rapping skills, being inspired by Prince and Eminem, how he started rapping, connecting with the CEO, Top Dawg, planning to start a family, being in touch with his roots and more. Check out the excerpts below and read the full story on VanityFair.com
Whether he plans to start a family:
“This is the constant question, because I’m obsessed with my craft and what I’m doing. I know what I’m chasing for my life, even though I don’t know what it is. But it’s an urge that’s in my every day. That urge to make an ultimate connection with words to man. And I don’t feel I’ve done that yet.”
Inspired by Prince:
In addition to Kendrick’s extraordinary talent as a writer, rapper, and producer, he has an ear for melody, and an ability to assume different voices on his songs—which he tells me he got from listening to Prince and the music he heard at his parents’ house parties.
Being private about personal relationship:
But as for his own personal love relationship with [Whitney] Alford, he doesn’t talk about it, he says, because “I want something that’s just for me.”
Being in touch with his roots:
“I had three or four years of success and celebrity, but I can’t get rid of the 20 years of being with my homies, and knowing what they go through. I can’t throw that away. I know a lot of people who could—I’ve seen it—like ‘Fuck you, I’ve got money now, I’m outta here, I don’t give a fuck about none of y’all.’ But that was something I couldn’t deal with. I had to sit back and analyze it and [figure out] other ways I could impact these people without physically trying to bring the whole hood inside a hotel.”
Rapping about politics and Kanye’s recent statements about Trump:
He says he doesn’t talk much about politics because “I just get too frustrated.” I ask him how he feels about Kanye West’s statements about Trump and about slavery and, after a long pause, he says, “He has his own perspective, and he’s on this whole agree to disagree thing, and I would have this conversation with him personally if I want to.
I ask him how he delivers so many syllables and words in one line, with no wasted words and juxtapositions like “Halle Berry/Hallelujah” or a play on words like “Demo-crips and Re-blood-licans” or “I got power/poison/pain and joy inside my DNA.” “It comes from my love of hip-hop. Eminem is probably one of the best wordsmiths ever,” Kendrick says. “There’s a whole list of why, but just bending words. . . . The Marshall Mathers LP changed my life.”