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Interview: Kendrick Lamar Talks Politics and More with i-D Magazine

Kendrick

Kendrick Lamar sat down with i-D Magazine for an in-depth interview with Touré, K. He touches on a few political issues including Trump and our current state as a Country. He also talks about changing the world through music and reflects on Obama’s term in office. Take a look and read some of the interview below and check out the full cover story over at i-D.

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Kendrick Reflects on Barack Obama:

“I was talking to Obama,” he says, “and the craziest thing he said was, ‘Wow, how did we both get here?’ Blew my mind away. I mean, it’s just a surreal moment when you have two black individuals, knowledgeable individuals, but who also come from these backgrounds where they say we’ll never touch ground inside these floors.” A pause. He briefly recalls his grandmother, who died when Kendrick was a teenager; how incredible might she have found this, a black man in office, talking to her grandson. “That’s what blows me up. Being in there and talking to him and seeing the type of intelligence that he has and the influence that he has, not only on me, but on my community. It just always takes me back to the idea of how far we have come along with this idea about how [much] further we can go. Just him being in office sparks the idea that us as a people, we can do anything that we want to do. And we have smarts and the brains and the intelligence to do it.”

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On Trump vs. Obama:

“The key differences [between Obama and Trump] are morals, dignity, principles, common sense,” he says. Where Obama was an inspiration, it’s hard for him to even respect Trump. “How can you follow someone who doesn’t know how to approach someone or speak to them kindly and with compassion and sensitivity?” But ultimately the rise of Trump has brought out something new in Kendrick. “It’s just building up the fire in me. It builds the fire for me to keep pushing as hard as I want to push.”

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On His Music:

“I can sometimes cut the whole world off to write a verse that is perfect to me,” he says. “I could be in the studio all day and turn the phone off and completely zone out, because I feel like this was what I was chosen to do. And I can’t let anyone get in between that.” Unlike many MCs, when Kendrick creates, he’s not high. “I want to make the music in the most sober mind as possible, that way I know it’s me making it, not just the liquor!” If hip-hop is a game, Kendrick wants to win. “Hip-hop plays two ways in my head. It plays as a contact sport, and also as something that you connect to – songwriting. Growing up and listening to battles between Nas and Jay-Z, that’s the sport for me. That’s where it can get funky, that’s where I can say whatever I want, however I want, whenever I want. Then there’s the other side, which is showing something that people can actually relate to, and connect with. I have that competitive nature, and I also have the compassion to talk about something that’s real.”

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