VANITY FAIR'S DAMN GOOD PROFILE OF KENDRICK

Kendrick Lamar is the cover story of Vanity Fair’s August issue. Among the praise heaped on Kendrick in Lisa Robinson’s extensive profile is this one from Rick Rubin: “Kendrick is one of the best of all time—making modern and challenging new music. He exists on another plane.”

Kendrick offers thoughts on everything from his upbringing to his working style and the Pulitzer Prize. Ultimately, Robinson’s piece sums up the superstar’s inner-drive. Here are five great quotes from Lamar that help explain what separates him from the pack.

“I’m obsessed with my craft and what I’m doing. I know what I’m chasing for my life, even though I don’t know what it is. But it’s an urge that’s in my every day. That urge to make an ultimate connection with words to man. And I don’t feel I’ve done that yet.”

“I spend 80 percent of my time thinking about how I’m going to execute, and that might be a whole year of constantly jotting down ideas, figuring out how I’m going to convey these words to a person to connect to it. What is this word that means this, how did it get here and why did it go there and how can I bring it back there? Then, the lyrics are easy.”

“I had three or four years of success and celebrity, but I can’t get rid of the 20 years of being with my homies, and knowing what they go through. I can’t throw that away. I know a lot of people who could—I’ve seen it—like ‘Fuck you, I’ve got money now, I’m outta here, I don’t give a fuck about none of y’all.’ But that was something I couldn’t deal with. I had to sit back and analyze it and [figure out] other ways I could impact these people without physically trying to bring the whole hood inside a hotel.”

“My mother encouraged me to dream—she was very proud of my efforts. My third-grade teacher came up to my mother once at a parent-teacher meeting and she said, ‘Your son used a word that I was totally amazed by—he said audacity.’ Even then, it gave me an advantage in life, to be able to take information, listen to it, and take a perspective without judging it and do my own research.”

“I would wake up one morning, and it would be cartoons and cereal and walking back from school. And at 4 P.M., we’d be having a house party ‘til 11 P.M. . .. and people [were] shooting each other outside the door. That was my lifestyle. And it’s not only mine; it’s so many other individuals’. And I wanted to tell that story.”

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