Music fans can’t help but romanticize what they think happens backstage during high-profile tours, and they don’t get more high profile Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Once you’ve hit the level of fame they have, they aren’t people anymore; they’re THE TWO GREATEST RAPPERS ALIVE. So it stands to reason that all of their pre and post-show chats are GOLD, JERRY, GOLD. Not so much. The following comes from Lizzy Goodman’s New York Times profile of Kendrick.
I had been shadowing Lamar on tour with West off and on for almost three weeks before I saw the two rappers in the same room. The tour had swept through the Southern states and headed West. We were in Texas on an unusually cold Saturday evening just after a record-setting snowstorm. Lamar was heading to the stage at Houston’s Toyota Center. As he walked down the hallway, a black van pulled up, and West got out with Kim Kardashian. As the two men greeted each other, their respective posses fell back — except for Lamar’s videographer and his counterpart in West’s camp, both of whom acted as if this was the moment they’d been waiting for all tour. They traced a tight circle around the men, lenses open to capture every word of a conversation that lasted less than 30 seconds. The two rappers embraced, then Lamar paused, allowing West to proceed down the hallway first, before continuing to the stage to play his set.
So they, like, just spoke? No one gave God himself a high-five while having their d*ck sucked? BOR-RING. The more interesting story is what happened before the tour even started.
Backstage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, West personally approached Lamar about joining him on the road. “It’s a different kind of thrill when an actual artist asks you, when Kanye asks you,” Lamar said, pronouncing West’s first name the way he always does, with the emphasis on the last syllable, kahn-YAY. “Now I know he’s really interested in what I do.” Lamar said it was easy to make that happen after the chat, but his team remembered a lot of back and forth. “Believe it or not, we were actually trying not to do the tour,” says Terrence Henderson, better known as Punch, the president of Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s label. “We wanted Kendrick to be recording that whole time.”
“We wanted Kendrick to be recording that whole time.” That’s never not true.