Exclusive GRAMMY.com Interview With Kendrick Lamar

L.A.-based rapper on staying focused, what inspires him and the legacy he hopes to leave as an artist
  • Photo: Ivy Augusta
    Kendrick Lamar
October 08, 2013 -- 10:38 am PDT

Rising hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar recently visited the Village Studios in Los Angeles to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. Lamar discussed how he maintains focus on his career, the legacy he hopes to leave as an artist, his morning ritual, and his major label debut, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, among other topics.

"You realize that you can take your mind somewhere totally different — for better or for worse —  in my case, it was for better," said Lamar regarding beginning each morning by staring at himself in the mirror for 10 minutes. "What it does for me, it lets me know who I am and who I always will be, and where I come from and what I'm trying to do with myself and the people around me."

Dubbed the "New King of the West Coast" by fellow West Coast rappers Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and the Game, Compton, Calif., native Lamar released his first mixtape at age 16. He followed with a series of mixtapes under the moniker K. Dot before using his birth name to release 2010's Overly Dedicated and 2011's Section.80. The recordings caught the attention of GRAMMY-winning producer Dr. Dre. Top Dawg Entertainment, the label home to Lamar, subsequently secured a joint distribution deal with Interscope Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, giving Lamar access to the producer who helped launch the careers of GRAMMY winners 50 Cent and Eminem.

Released in October 2012, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Executive produced by Dr. Dre, the album features production by Just Blaze and GRAMMY winners Hit-Boy and Pharrell Williams, among others, and includes the Billboard Hot 100 hits "B****, Don't Kill My Vibe," "Swimming Pools (Drank)" and "Poetic Justice" featuring GRAMMY winner Drake.

Lamar will be the opening act on GRAMMY winner Kanye West's Yeezus Tour beginning on Oct. 19 in Seattle, with dates scheduled through December.  

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