Famed comedian Dave Chappelle received the opportunity to speak with one of music’s most poignant artists, Kendrick Lamar. For Interview‘s latest cover feature, Chappelle quizzed the “DNA.” rapper on how he balances reality and fame, the backstory behind “DUCKWORTH.” and how Lamar’s visit to South Africa (a country that once housed Chappelle for an extended period), changed his outlook on his work.
“I went to South Africa — Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg — and those were definitely the ‘I’ve arrived’ shows,” Lamar said. “Outside of the money, the success, the accolades… This is a place that we, in urban communities, never dream of. We never dream of Africa. Like, ‘Damn, this is the motherland.’ You feel it as soon as you touch down. That moment changed my whole perspective on how to convey my art.”
In addition to owning this newfound outlook, Lamar also shared that his mission statement for this thing called life is titled “self-expression.” He continued, “I don’t want anybody to classify my music. I want them to say, ‘This is somebody who’s recognizing his true feelings, his true emotions, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and views on the world, all on one record.’ I want people to recognize that and to take it and apply it to their own lives. You know what I’m saying? The more and more I get out and talk to different people, I realize they appreciate that — me being unapologetic in whatever views and approach I have.”
According to Billboard, Lamar’s DAMN. album spent three weeks at No. 1. Since its debut in April, the soundscape still receives rave reviews, and standout tracks continue to be analyzed, namely “DUCKWORTH.” The final song on the album tells the story of a real-life encounter between Lamar’s father and TDE president, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith way before the Grammy Award-winner’s signing.
“The idea that I wanted to put across from that event was one of perspective. Everybody has their own perspective, and recognizing someone else’s perspective blows my mind a hundred thousand percent,” he said. “The way that event unfolded… I had to sit down and ask my pops, ‘What was your perspective at the moment?’ And, ‘Did you ever think it would come around full circle like that?’ That always fascinated me.”
Read the full exchange here.