(AllHipHop News) Kendrick Lamar is arguably the best rapper alive.
His DAMN album debuted at #1 with the largest first-week sales numbers of the year, and the project has since spent 16 consecutive weeks in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200.
DAMN was the best-selling album of the first six months of 2017, and it’s now certified double platinum.
Earlier this year, the Compton emcee also earned his first #1 Hot 100 single as a lead artist with “Humble.”
He discussed the perception that his commercial success has made him a “Pop” artist.
The RS conversation also included the issue of ghostwriting in Hip Hop.
Check out some excerpts from the Q&A below.
Kendrick Lamar appears on our latest cover. You can read the story in full at RollingStone.com. The rapper discusses his vices, working with Beyoncé on ‘Lemonade,’ his latest album ‘Damn.,’ the future and more. “You can talk about dreams all day and ‘what I want,’” he says, “but you gotta put an action behind it.” Photograph by Mark Seliger (@markseliger)
I mean, it’s like beating a dead horse. We already know what it is. Are we gonna keep talking about it or are we gonna take action? You just get to a point where you’re tired of talking about it. It weighs you down and it drains your energy when you’re speaking about something or someone that’s completely ridiculous. So, on and off the album, I took it upon myself to take action in my own community. On the record, I made an action to not speak about what’s going on in the world or the places they put us in. Speak on self; reflection of self first. That’s where the initial change will start from.
On wack artists:
A wack artist uses other people’s music for their approval. We’re talking about someone that is scared to make their own voice, chases somebody else’s success and their thing, but runs away from their own thing. That’s what keeps the game watered-down. Everybody’s not going to be able to be a Kendrick Lamar. I’m not telling you to rap like me. Be you. Simple as that. I watch a lot of good artists go down like that because you’re so focused on what numbers this guy has done, and it dampers your own creativity. Which ultimately dampers the listener, because at the end of the day, it’s not for us. It’s for the person driving to their 9-to-5 that don’t feel like they wanna go to work that morning.
It depends on what arena you’re putting yourself in. I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter. If you’re saying you’re a different type of artist and you don’t really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won’t be there.
On being a Pop artist:
It gets tricky because you can have that one big record, but you can still have that integrity at the same time. Not many can do it … wink-wink [laughs]. Still have them raps going crazy on that album and have a Number One record, wink-wink. Call it whatever you want to call it. As long as the artist remains true to the craft of hip-hop and the culture of it, it is what it is.
Read the full Kendrick Lamar interview with Rolling Stone here.