Photo: Terry Richardson
By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the “Kendrick Lamar & Black Hippy” cover of the October/November issue of XXL. If not, you can view it here. Amongst the variety of topics spoken on, Kendrick shares his thoughts on his “Control” verse and the response it has gotten, his writing process, TDE, the art of freestyling, putting on for the whole West Coast and more. Check out a few quotes below and check out the entire cover story over at their residence on the internets.
On his writing process: The process for my first album, my debut album, and even music prior to that, it’s always been like 50/50. I have some songs where I just went in the booth and just got the thoughts off and I didn’t want to feel like I was confined with a sheet of paper. Some records, I may sit with it and have scraps of napkins everywhere, and papers everywhere scattered, then [I’m] piecing up them ideas together and putting them to songs. It really depends on what I’m feeling at the time.
On his freestyle ability: I think it comes from just being a kid back in the day and just really playing around with it. You know, we didn’t know how to write verses or songs back in the day, so we just used to say crazy stuff that we seen off the top of our heads, whether we were at the schoolyard, at the bleachers or at the house—me and my cousins. We just used to have fun with it. And I guess them moments built up to me actually having the skill to do it now. Looking at people that’s great at it—Kurupt is great at it, Supernatural is great at it. And I honor them because I know the ideas that are going on in their minds as they—[snaps fingers repeatedly]—come up with these words. It’s definitely a gift; definitely God’s gift.
On “Control” and the response: I think I said everything I need to say on Peter Rosenberg, Hot 97. If people don’t get it from there, then I don’t feel [I need] to explain myself any more. I think they’ll run it down to the ground rather than me. You know, I just wrote a verse. I think everybody’s just taking it to the ground and don’t want to let it go. I spoke my piece on Hot 97. If people wanna take it further than there, that’s their entertainment. I’m on a whole ‘nother plateau of thinking now. That was just for that moment of writing a verse. That’s how I feel about it.
Let me tell you something: This is my thing—this is what I found out through it all, from doing that verse. People wanted to say something anyway, period. They’re just looking for the right moment to. They want to say something anyway. That’s how I look at it. That’s it.
On helping the whole West Coast rise, rather it just being TDE: Bring everybody. Everybody. Dom Kennedy, Nipsey [Hussle], Problem, G Malone, Bad Lucc, Maestro, Lady G, Casey Veggies—I could go forever, only because I know these is the people that really dedicate their lives to this music. They are the best artists, I feel like, in hip-hop, in music. Now that the light has panned our way, it’s time for everybody to know how long we’ve been harboring this talent—since the ’90s, since ‘Pac died. If the light is panned on me, I’m gonna make sure I could pan it on as many heads as possible, because everybody needs to be heard from here. Iamsu! The Bay Area got so much talent, I can’t forget that. I’m glad you said that question, because that’s really the initial goal, to get the whole California, West Coast to have that same spunk we had in the ’90s as far as putting out great music.
Kendrick Lamar is currently on the Yeezus Tour with Kanye West. Check the cities/dates here.