Kendrick Lamar has often presented layers of love, black mortality and race in his music, but for his next project, the artist is looking to focus on a higher power.
As part of T Magazine’s latest feature (March 1) on the importance of artistic creation, the 29-year-old opens up about his process on music making and some key inspirations. “One particular fan broke it down to me: ‘I connect through your music not because I know about the gang culture; it’s the sense of wanting to be set free,’” he said of fan reaction to his critically acclaimed albums Good Kid, m.A.A.d City and To Pimp A Butterfly. “Simple as that. He said, ‘That’s the message that you get across in this album. You’re dealing with that, but I’m dealing with drug abuse; you’re talking about the gang culture and you want to escape that and I want to escape my own self-afflictions and addictions. That’s where the connection comes from.’ And when I understood that and it resonated with me I felt like, O.K., it’s always a line of communication where we can agree on something: We just choose to or choose not to.”
Lamar describes the Grammy-winning TPAB as “call-out” to the problems in the nation and his hometown of Compton, Calif. His new music will take from his past inspirations of religion and spiritualty and place them front and center. Calling it an “urgent” album, Kendrick is looking to go deeper than ever before.
“I think now, how wayward things have gone within the past few months, my focus is ultimately going back to my community and the other communities around the world where they’re doing the groundwork,” he said. “To Pimp a Butterfly was addressing the problem. I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem anymore. We’re in a time where we exclude one major component out of this whole thing called life: God. Nobody speaks on it because it’s almost in conflict with what’s going on in the world when you talk about politics and government and the system.”
Lamar’s previous tracks like the intro to Good Kid, m.A.A.d City, “i,” “She Needs Me” and many others, don’t hide his love and loyalty to the big homie. He’s also been symbolic in comical ways for his love for Jesus.
— Only Hip Hop Facts (@OnlyHipHopFacts) November 1, 2014