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An In-Depth Conversation with Kendrick Lamar

kendrick2In a rare interview, the Compton rapper discusses Trump, Obama and how we can all make a difference. “I… don’t… know,” Kendrick Lamar says when asked to explain why Donald Trump became President of the United States. Few people understand America the way Kendrick does, so surely he must know something about how the billionaire reality TV star has happened to his country.” Read more…

“He’s sitting in a little dark gray room backstage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on a Sunday afternoon. It’s just a few hours before his show. He’s in silver Nike Air Max and a maroon sweatsuit, top and bottom, with the TDE logo. That’s Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s label. He’s calm and softly spoken and radiates intensity because his words are well chosen and carry weight. Kendrick isn’t voluble but he is deep.

He’s perceptive, wise and quite often brilliant, so like many Americans, when it comes to Trump he’s still in shock. “We all are baffled,” he says. “It is something that completely disregards our moral compass.” The shift is almost tangible for Kendrick because Obama is not just a President he respected and admired, he’s also a friend who loves his music and invited him to the White House. 

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“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.”

Read the rest of the feature HERE.

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