The Compton native is on the cover of the new Rolling Stone issue, and it comes with a statement: “The Greatest Rapper Alive.” In the feature interview with Brian Hiatt, Kendrick Lamar talks about carrying himself as a man even when he was a kid, growing up with a dad around unlike a lot peers, sitting inside the prison Nelson Mandela was jailed and much more.
Some choice quotes:
You rapped about teenage dreams of “livin’ life like rappers do” – but your own life as a rapper has turned out to be pretty sedate. What are your vices at this point?
“My biggest vice is being addicted to the chase of what I’m doing. It turns into a vice when I shut off people that actually care for me, because I’m so indulged spreading this word. Being on that stage, knowing that you’re changing people’s lives, that’s a high. Sometimes, when you’re pressing so much to get something across to a stranger, you forget people that are closer to you. That’s a vice.”
Do you ever feel like you should be having more fun?
“Everybody’s fun is different. Mine is not drinking. I drink casually, from time to time. I like to get people from my neighborhood, someone that’s fresh out of prison for five years, and see their faces when they go to New York, when they go out of the country. Shit, that’s fun for me. You see it through their eyes and you see ’em light up.”
Is it ever OK for a rapper to have a ghostwriter? You’ve obviously written verses for Dr. Dre yourself.
“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.”
Read the whole interview over at Rolling Stone’s website.