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Kendrick Lamar’s Life and Career Explored in New York Times Magazine

Kendrick Lamar
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Ever since Kendrick Lamar released his debut album, ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city,’ and delivered his blistering verse on ‘Control,’ he’s been the most talked-about artist in hip-hop.

The New York Times Magazine recently published an expansive story on the Top Dawg Entertainment artist, calling him “Hip-Hop’s Newest Old-School Star.”

Among the highlights in the piece include his reasoning for creating the ‘Control’ verse, in which he lyrically challenged other rappers and proclaimed he’s the “King of New York.”

Lamar feels that the rap game has lost its competitive edge and he wants to shake things up a bit. Mission accomplished.

“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.”

Some other interesting tidbits in the article include Lamar’s interaction with his girlfriend, Whitney Alford, who sasses him for being cheap.

Elsewhere in the profile, Lamar’s upbringing is explored as the 27-year-old rapper talked about his parents moving from Chicago to Compton, Calif., during the height of the crack epidemic in the late 1980s.

“My pop did what he had to do,” he says of his father’s street activities. “We had good birthdays and good Christmases. I can’t complain.”

Lamar, who stuttered in high school, got into rapping so he could mack to the girls. “That is the No. 1 motivation when you are in ninth grade,” he quips.

He also speaks highly of Kanye West, who specifically requested him to join his Yeezus tour in 2013. And he wasn’t going to take “no” for answer. So much so that the G.O.O.D. Music leader got K.Dot a studio tour bus so he could record on the road.

“It’s a different kind of thrill when an actual artist asks you, when Kanye asks you,” he says emphasizing the enormity of the opportunity. “Now I know he’s really interested in what I do. It was dope to have the actual headliner of the show want my show to be just as good as his.”

Fellow rappers also speak fondly of Lamar — among them Eminem, whom he has collaborated and toured with on many occasions. On the discussion of Lamar’s fantastic album, ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city,’ the Detroit rhymer found it to be a brilliant listen from beginning to end.

“We’ve been in Compton before,” he said. “But the way that Kendrick did it was so different… the album is crafted from front to back, the way each song ties into each other — to me that’s genius.”

Lamar appears to be cautious of not letting the fame and adulation get into his head. The rapper even admits that he’s horrible when it comes to accepting compliments. However, he feels he must not lose sight of the bigger picture.

“I don’t want to be something that just comes and goes,” he says.

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