(AllHipHop News) Kendrick Lamar received some backlash for his comments about the killing of teenager Mike Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. The Grammy-winning emcee told Billboard in January, “What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us?” Critics accused Kendrick of “victim blaming” African Americans facing systemic racism.
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Those remarks came before Kendrick released his politically tinged album To Pimp A Butterfly. The LP was laced with K. Dot confronting many relevant social issues. He has now once again addressed some of those topics – such as police brutality and racial injustice – in a new interview with XXL.
“The past few years or so has been very politically charged and controversial. From Trayvon Martin, to Eric Garner to Michael Brown and issues of police brutality and racism and for so many other reasons,” said Kendrick. “All of it has really struck a nerve with me because when you experience things like that personally and you know the type of hardships and pain that it brings first-hand, it builds a certain rage in you.”
Kendrick went on to talk about his own personal experience dealing with police. He spoke about cops kicking in the door, stomping him in the back, dragging him out of the house, and handcuffing him. The “Alright” rhymer was 16 years old at the time.
“It brings back some of the most painful memories and deepest thoughts of real life situations that I didn’t even want to address on good kid. Or wasn’t ready to,” recalls Kendrick. “Rage is the perfect word for it.”
The 28-year-old performer also shared his thoughts on his possible role as a leader for young people. He questions taking on that responsibility and wielding the power that comes with it.
“I know I’m chosen. I know I’m a favorite. I know in my heart there’s a whole other energy and leadership side of me that I have probably run from my whole life. How much power do I want? How much can I handle?” Kendrick stated. “That’s the question I keep asking myself. ’Cause when you are a voice for the youth, nothing can stop you. The youth is what changes things. Can I lead that? Should I?”