Kendrick Lamar Says ‘Mumble Rappers’ Are ‘Evolving’ Rap, But Should Also Respect Older Artists

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At the peak of his powers as the arguable greatest rapper alive, Kendrick Lamar’s voice helps drive hip-hop culture. From five-year-old albums that continue to resonate to business ventures that have to make Jay-Z look twice at this point, Kendrick is covering all the bases of stardom while pushing the sonics of mainstream hip-hop forward. That said, he has a firm sense of respect for those that laid the way for him, which is refreshing at this juncture of hip-hop.

From Lil Yachty telling us how he really feels about Joe Budden, to Lonzo Ball questioning Nas’ relevance to Vince calling the ’90s overrated, there is a very obvious divide in hip-hop, in part spurred by divergent generational values and tastes. Kendrick, for one is not a fan of the perceived disrespect of veterans, as the Forbes 30 under 30 cover boy told the outlet in a ranging interview set to hit stands in December.

“I can’t shun a lot of the artists that may not be a Kendrick Lamar,” he said of so-called “mumble rappers” who are helping “evolve” the genre in his eyes. But he also noted that “I tell them every time I see them … be yourself and do what you do but also know who laid down the groundwork. Don’t go on your interviews and dis them and say you don’t like them and you don’t care for them. That’s your opinion, that’s cool but you have to respect them,” he told Forbes writer Zack O’Malley Greenburg.

Elsewhere in the interview, he recalls how his manager Dave Free “basically did some magic tricks” to finagle Kendrick studio time by playing Kendrick’s mixtape while helplessly trying to fix Top Dog’s computer. He also recalls that the moment that he realized he “made it” actually came amidst failure:

“I think when I made a terrible single, and that shit was just garbage…I wasn’t aware that that was my highest point because I got back in there and I did it all over again, and continued to push through. That’s when I realized I really wanna do this, because I ain’t give up when I made a terrible ass song.”

Thank goodness for that. Check out the full interview here.