kendrick on compton, confidence and busting grooves
The rapper opened up to Mary Anne Hobbs on her BBC 6 Music show. Here are 15 hot bits of new Lamar knowledge.
Kendrick Lamar may be known for his rap voice, but his spoken voice needs its own permanent platform if an interview with Mary Anne Hobbs is anything to go by. Lamar's dulcet tones deliver all kinds of messages on her BBC Radio 6 Music show, from practice makes perfect to stay "loyal to the soil." Here are the top 15 cherries from their chat. For the full interview, head here
Watch and learn
"What was I like as a kid? To myself sometimes. Always looking at adults and trying to figure them out. As well as youthful, into sports."
School = A's all the way
"I was pretty decent, when I wanted to be. I wasn't one of them kids that tried to manoeuvre with the other kids just for the coolness of it. I knew when it was time to press the button and go and pass that grade."
Jordan was his hero
"I felt like Michael Jordan could do any and everything. Whatever he did, he wanted to be the best at it - basketball, baseball, selling shoes. That was my hero."
When he first picked up the mic
"The first time I actually stepped behind a mic and heard my actual voice and at that moment I knew that's what I wanted to do. It was a little bit different from writing lyrics, because I can rap in my head all day, but once I heard the music play back through the speakers, it was instant for me."
Confidence comes from curiosity
"After being curious it comes practice, and after practice, it comes from a lot of failures and not being afraid to fall and fall again and fall again until I figured it out."
"I always try to go back to how I feel when I was 7-years-old, 6-years-old. That type of fearlessness and having that grand mind of experimenting. When you used to jump off the bed and do backflips and all that - I want to take that to my music, to my everyday life, taking chances."
Compton, in one word
"If there's one word to describe it, it would probably be 'unpredictable.' When you grow up in a hostile environment, you become somewhat numb to it...The little things like playing basketball and doing backflips and stuff like that stood out. I had a great time being a kid and being a teenager, because I was still involved and my parents kept me involved in these activities. One day I can be riding down the block with my friends and popping wheelies, or the next day it can be gunfire."
Practice makes perfect
"This is what gave me the advantage over a lot of my friends that started doing music at the time of 18 or 19. The level I was at 13 was six years advanced from when they started doing it because I had that much more passion for it. It was all I could really think about doing. By the time they were getting into song-writing, I was already writing choruses and bridges and triplets and different rhyme schemes like that. I taught me that value of work ethic."
Write wherever you can - even use napkins.
"I'm usually writing all day, every day, at least a line, a paragraph of something. It may be me writing lyrics on a bunch of napkins, whatever I can get my hands on to. Sometimes you can just dream about songs, dream about music, dream about sounds and lyrics and you have to write it down."
Perfectionism: a gift and a curse
"I'm my worst critic. I don't think no one can criticise me more than I criticise myself. It's a gift and a curse. I could stay working on a song for an hour or a whole year, until I feel that it's right. Most of the times, the first take it the best take, because it's natural and fluent."
He knows why you like his music, even if you don't
"The listener might not know what they're hearing - they just know it sounds good. But there are certain things that I do because of how long I've been in the studio and how I've perfected it that I know why you like it. You might not know, but I know why."
Loyal to the soil!
"It's words I was brought up on coming up as a kid,. Those words were always in my household. It pertained to your relationships, it pertained to what you believed in and your morals and how you treated others, period."
Lyrics in the world
"It's definitely an overwhelming feeling, because it makes me realise how selfish I can be as a person and in my music. When you start off making music, you're usually either making it for yourself, or the people around you…but at the same time, you may never know how much of an impact your words may mean to someone out there. And it took me years to know that. I'm just now figuring it out."
Who's gonna teach him bass guitar?
"Thundercat. That's the person I'm going to go to for lessons."
Oh, and he can move
"Yeah I can dance. I can groove. I got it!"