Last week Kendrick Lamar sat down to talk with New York Times on many issues ranging from his 11 Grammy nominations, Black Lives Matter and his remarkable 2015.
The Q&A session between Kendrick and the New York Times provided a brief glimpse into the mindset of raps golden child. Kendrick since he first became a household name has been lauded as the example of what real hip-hop is – he’s a lyricist to the core, a rapper that is more concerned with telling stories through the painting of vivid pictures with conscious content sprinkled over top.
So what was the soul of hip-hop listening to in a year in which he had the one album many fans would consider “real hip-hop” ? Drake and Future.
Of course Future killed it. He smashed. Drake smashed. Future’s work ethic was crazy, his energy. This is the thing about hip-hop music and where people get it most misconstrued: It’s all hip-hop. You can’t say that just what I do is hip-hop, because hip-hop is all energies. James Brown can get on the track and mumble all day. But guess what: You felt his soul on those records.
No, I don’t. If it makes you feel good, and it makes you move — I don’t know these guys personally. I don’t know what makes them move on a personal level. I can’t knock it. It feels good when I listen to it, when I’m in that vibe. You feel it. You can get the highest level of that — you can get Future — or you can get the watered-down version, somebody else trying to be that. That’s the bad [expletive].
Kendrick is right, hip-hop is about the vibe. How you feel when you listen to Future or Kendrick may not be the same, but you feel something. That feeling can’t be reciprocated by just listening to music that sounds like them. There’s something special, authentic about their music, and like Kendrick said. You can get the highest level of that, or you can get the watered-down version.
Hip-hop isn’t just Kendrick Lamar, nor is it Drake or Future, what is it? It’s all of it. It’s New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, London and Canada all rolled into one. It’s lyrical assassins and song-writing collaborators. It’s about the feeling, it’s about the music. So now that the poster child for real hip-hop thinks Future and Drake fall into the category, I’m sure the “real hip-hop” fans will follow suit.
To read the full interview, click here.