It’s been a banner year for Compton MC Kendrick Lamar. The critically acclaimed Top Dawg lyricist—who was recently nominated for several Grammy Awards including Best New Artist and the prestigious Album of the Year for his major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d city—has become a platinum-plus superstar. Indeed, when you are personally chosen as the opening act for one of the most buzzed-about tours of the year (Kanye West’s brilliantly over-the-top Yeezus spectacle) and you get co-signs from everyone from Dr. Dre and Eminem to Lady Gaga, life is good.
Well, you can add another co-sign to the mix: hip-hop legend and Law & Order actor Ice T. The game-changing MC, who has been called the godfather of gangsta rap, tells VIBE that Lamar has been a breath of fresh air for the hip-hop game. “Kendrick Lamar is dope,” praises Ice of his fellow West Coast luminary. “Kendrick is like an old spirit, but the thing of it is Kendrick came out of Dre’s camp. And to get a pass from Dr. Dre you got to be dope.”
So what’s the secret to Lamar’s success beyond ridiculously sick rhymes? Ice says the kid is refreshingly real. “When it’s all said and done, nobody is going to remember what I had…they are not going to remember what car I had. They gonna remember what I said. That’s all that’s going to be around when it’s all over. So just stay heavy and don’t be afraid to be heavier than the next cat. Kendrick dissed a few rappers and the world went crazy because nobody says nothing anymore.”
As for a return to the mic for Ice T, the two-fisted vet and reality show star, who recently reformed his hardcore rock band Body Count, says don’t bet on it. At least not just yet. “The climate is too soft out there for me,” he jokes. “So maybe I can change the humidity with this new Body Count record, and then I hit them with a rap album.”—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)