Kendrick Lamar Explains Name Change + Talks Being Inspired By Malcolm X


(AllHipHop News) Before Kendrick Lamar was viewed by many as the new “King of the West Coast” he was rapping under the name K. Dot. The Compton emcee eventually dropped that moniker and started using his birth name. Kendrick spoke with The Madd Hatta Morning Show about switching his handle.

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“K. Dot comes from the neighborhood. Just being a kid in the city, so I started rapping under that name,” explained Kendrick. “I said to myself I don’t wanna be known for just spitting raps. I wanna be known for something a little bit more, so why not start with people identifying with who I am from the jump.”

After adopting his government name Kendrick went on to release the critically acclaimed Section.80. The project featured the J. Cole-produced  track “HiiiPoWeR.” The song opens with Kendrick spitting, “Visions of Martin Luther staring at me/Malcolm X put a hex on my future someone catch me/I’m falling victim to a revolutionary song.”

During the discussion with Madd Hatta, Kendrick revealed that The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a book that greatly influenced him. One of the themes of the Malcolm and Alex Haley co-authored memoir is the ability of a person to change with experience – evidenced by Malcolm’s personal transformation after visiting Mecca and Africa. Kendrick touched on how he drew inspiration on that idea from the 1965 best-seller.

“I think for me it’s about communicating with people. I was one of those kids – six, seven years old – having full conversation with grown people that were in the party,” said Kendrick. “So taking that lifestyle and going across the world and talking to other people from different cultures and walks of life, it gives you a little bit more wisdom.”

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Listen to Kendrick Lamar’s interview below.