Kendrick Lamar Opens Up About Depression, Death & Making A Change

blame it on Shake December 29, 2015

Currently sitting on 11 Grammy nominations, I’d imagine Kendrick Lamar is sitting on cloud nine right now—but is he really?

Sitting down with NPR, K. Dot shares a haunting memory from his past and details how the sudden rise of Kendrick Lamar, the rapper, has effected Kendrick Duckworth, the man, who’s still trying to find his place in this crazy world.

Witnessing his first murder at the age of 5.

“It was outside my apartment unit,” Lamar tells NPR’s David Greene. “A guy was out there serving his narcotics and somebody rolled up with a shotgun and blew his chest out. Admittedly, it done something to me right then and there. It let me know that this is not only something that I’m looking at, but it’s something that maybe I have to get used to — you dig what I’m saying?”

Why was he screaming in a hotel room on TPAB?

“What was the feeling? The feeling was missing home,” Lamar says. “The feeling was, I should be with my family right now when they’re going through hardships, with the loss of my dear friends that’s constantly passing while I’m out on this road. The feeling was, ‘How am I influencing so many people on this stage rather than influencing the ones that I have back home?’ That’s the feeling: being inside the hotel room, and these thoughts I’m just pondering back and forth while I look at the ceiling all night.”

Tragedy strikes in the summertime.

“I’ve probably lost more friends in this past summer than any other summer.” One sticks out. “Chad Keaton. He was like my little brother; we grew up in the same community,” Lamar says. “I was actually best friends with his older brother, which is incarcerated right now. And him just always telling me to make sure that Chad is on the right path. And, you know, he was on the right path. But, you know, things happen where sometimes the good are in the wrong places, and that’s exactly what happened. He got shot.”

Kendrick Lamar, the hypocrite?

In reference to the controversial line from “The Blacker The Berry” — “So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street, when gang-banging make me kill a n**** blacker than me? Hypocrite!” — Kendrick takes a look within and comes to the realization that before he can make a change in the world, he must first change himself.

“It’s not me pointing at my community; it’s me pointing at myself,” Lamar says. “I don’t talk about these things if I haven’t lived them, and I’ve hurt people in my life. It’s something I still have to think about when I sleep at night.

“The message I’m sending to myself — I can’t change the world until I change myself first,” he adds. “For instance, when Chad was killed, I can’t disregard the emotion of me relapsing and feeling the same anger that I felt when I was 16, 17 — when I wanted the next family to hurt, because you made my family hurt. Them emotions were still running in me, thinking about him being slain like that. Whether I’m a rap star or not, if I still feel like that, then I’m part of the problem rather than the solution.”

Really, the whole piece is super dope. Listen to the conversation below, and read the entire thing at NPR.