It’s difficult not to relate 2015 with Kendrick Lamar and after scoring 11 Grammy nominations, well…and then there’s his powerful “Alright” single, which became an anthem to activists and youth all around the country in lieu of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He recently sat down with NPR for a candid interview, where he revealed some of the harsh realities that come with growing up in Compton.
“I was raised inside the gang culture,” he said while opening up about his childhood, his inner battles and the death of close friend Chad Keaton, who he describes in “u.”
On Witnessing His First Murder At Age 5:
“Admittedly, it’d done something to me right then and there to let me know that this is not only something that I’m looking at but maybe something that I have to get used to.”
On Path As A Teenager:
“I was on the edge, fast—in a hurry. You grow up inside these neighborhoods, in these communities and you have friends. Friends that you love, friends that you grew up with since elementary. You have their trust and you have their loyalty. It brings influence. So no matter how much of a leader I thought I was, I was always under the influence. Most of the time when they were involved in these acts of destruction, I was there.”
On Feelings Behind TPAB:
“The feeling was missing home. The feeling was ‘I should be with my family right now when they going through hardships with the loss of my daily friends that’s constantly passing while I’m 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 are just pondering back and forth while I look at the ceiling all night.”
On controversial “The Blacker the Berry” lyric:
“This not me pointing at my community. This is me pointing at myself. I don’t talk about things if I haven’t lived them and I’ve hurt people in my life. It’s something I have to think about when I sleep at night.”
On Being “The Biggest Hypocrite Of 2015″:
“The message I’m sending to myself: I can’t change the world until I change myself first. For instance, when [my close friend] 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.”
Listen to the full interview below.
The Compton rapper also received a rather interesting treatment recently. As we all know, the Internet knows know limits when it comes to mashups and this time, Kdot’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” was combined with one of the most popular video game theme songs ever for “Kendrick Lamariokart.”
Take a listen below.