I’ll keep this one short: if there’s been a better profile written about Kendrick Lamar than “Hip-Hop’s Newest Old-School Star”, which published in The New York Times on Wednesday, I’ve yet to read it. Author Lizzy Goodman was granted access on the road with Kendrick during the Yeezus tour, and she used it to her utmost advantage, humanizing a man famous for keeping personal details close to the chest (unless, you know, you listen to his music).
It’s a highly recommended read, but if you’re short on time or something, here are fun quotes from Kendrick, Eminem and Pharrell.
A speech impediment helped steer him to rap:
“As a kid, I used to stutter. I think that’s why I put my energy into making music,” he continued. “That’s how I get my thoughts out, instead of being crazy all the time.”
Pharrell on Kendrick:
He’s a singer-songwriter. You can just see the kid’s mind like a kaleidoscope over a beat.
Eminem on Lamar:
“There’s a certain hunger that you can sense about Kendrick. He raps to be the best rapper in the world. He competitive-raps. That’s one of the things that’s going to drive his career. He’s going to be around for a long time.”
Kendrick on rap’s competitive nature:
“’If my edge is dull, my sword is dull, and I don’t want to fight another guy whose sword is dull,’ Lamar later told me. ‘If you’ve got two steel swords going back and forth hitting each other, what’s gonna happen? Both of them are going to get sharper.’ He laments what he sees as the impotency that has taken over the rap game. ‘Everybody that’s in the industry has lost their edge,’ he said. ‘There’s really no aggression. You gotta say things particular, and everything is so soft.’”
Kendrick after Grammy nominations were announced:
Whenever I get good news about anything . . . man, I guess I’m bad at receiving compliments…Like yesterday with the nominations, things like that — it made me feel like I had to be in the studio because I had to do it, not again, but. . . .It just bothers me. I don’t want to be something that just comes and goes.
The piece is long but detailed and well worth reading. Check for it at NYT.