Kendrick Lamar and Rick Rubin Are Working Together
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:58:08
Kendrick Lamar Videos
Kendrick Lamar and Rick Rubin recently met up for the first time for a cover story in GQ Style. During the interview, Kendrick discusses his influences, what is next for him, and his thoughts behind "Alright". Check out excerpts below:
Rick Rubin: What were the inspirations along the way for you—musically, lyrically, or philosophically—that got you to this stage?
Kendrick Lamar: Oh, man. First off would have to be how I was raised. The environment. My father being a complete realist, just in the streets. And my mother being a dreamer. It starts there first, before I even heard any type of melody or lyric. That's just DNA. It's always the yin and the yang, the good versus the evil. And that pushed me toward the music that I love to listen to. You know, Tupac, Biggie, Jay. Your usual suspects. These were the people that was played in my household.
RR: Let's say the second album. Do you feel like that's more indicative of where things will be in the future? Or is it more like, based on the difference between the first album and the second album, we should continue to expect it to change?
KL: That's a great question.
RR: It may not even be possible to answer, but tell me your best thoughts.
KL: My best thoughts… The best answer I can give you, um… That was me then.
KL: Not to say that it wouldn't be continuous. It'll always have some type of DNA in my music. But me, as a person, I grow. I'm like a chameleon. You know? That is a gift and a curse for me. But more so a gift, because it never puts me in a box. And my ability to express and still make the connection wherever I go, that is my high point. That's something I pride myself off of.
RR: Let's talk about "Alright" for a second. It has become our generation's protest song.
KL: Yeah, yeah.
RR: When you wrote it, did you have that in mind? Did you think of it as a protest song?
KL: No. You know what? I was sitting on that record for about six months. The beat's Pharrell. And between my guy Sam Taylor and Pharrell, they would always be like, Did you do it? When you gonna do it? I knew it was a great record—I just was trying to find the space to approach it. I mean, the beat sounds fun, but there's something else inside of them chords that Pharrell put down that feels like—it can be more of a statement rather than a tune. So with Pharrell and Sam asking me—Am I gonna rock on it? When I'm gonna rock on it?—it put the pressure on me to challenge myself. To actually think and focus on something that could be a staple in hip-hop. And eventually, I came across it. Eventually, I found the right words. You know, it was a lot going on, and still, to this day, it's a lot going on. And I wanted to approach it as more uplifting—but aggressive. Not playing the victim, but still having that We strong, you know?
Read the whole interview at GQ Style.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff