Over the last several years, Kendrick Lamar has built himself a legion of loyal fans (which include many celebrities), has been referred to as one of the great lyricists of our time, released four studio albums with DAMN. being the most recent and has traveled the world on headlining tours as well as with artist like Kanye West.
But what has been the most life-changing moment for him in his career so far? The moment he knew he made it? The answer may surprise you. The Compton, California native opened up about that during a sit-down with comedian Dave Chappelle for Interview magazine (on which Kendrick is on the cover of).
Kendrick has performed in cities all around the world, including Africa, and told Chappelle of going there, "I went to Africa and I was like, 'This is something I can enjoy and something I can challenge myself with.'"
So when the comedian asked if Africa was Kendrick's "'Oh sh**, I made it' moment," Lamar said:
"I went to South Africa—Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg—and those were definitely the 'I've arrived' shows. Outside of the money, the success, the accolades ... This is a place that we, in urban communities, never dream of. We never dream of Africa. Like, 'Damn, this is the motherland.' You feel it as soon as you touch down. That moment changed my whole perspective on how to convey my art."
Throughout the rest of the interview, Kendrick and Dave talk about his new album DAMN., his songwriting process, what he wants to say with his music, being on tour, and more. When asked what he wants to accomplish as an artist, the rapper explained:
"As I've grown as an artist, I've learned that my mission statement is really self-expression. I don't want anybody to classify my music. I want them to say, 'This is somebody who's recognizing his true feelings, his true emotions, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and views on the world, all on one record.' I want people to recognize that and to take it and apply it to their own lives. You know what I'm saying? The more and more I get out and talk to different people, I realize they appreciate that—me being unapologetic in whatever views and approach I have."
It's no secret that Kendrick has some celebrity fans, like Taylor Swift who he has now collaborated with. But another celeb fan of his is LeBron James. Dave Chappelle asked how it felt after the basketball star divulged that he had listened to Lamar's DAMN. album "after an amazing, clutch performance [in a historic, 26-point comeback win during the playoffs]." To which Kendrick replied:
"Moments like that ... If I hadn't expressed myself in the studio, who's to say he would have been listening to the album? LeBron James or the little boy around the corner, we come from the same struggles, and it comes out of my mouth for them to relate to."
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