Kendrick Lamar gets really, really real.
Forbes just released their annual 30 Under 30 list and taking the cover spot this year is rapper Kendrick Lamar. The entire class of 2018 was recently released, and some of our faves have made it onto the exclusive list (including Playboi Carti, Migos, Joe Jonas and Lil Uzi Vert).
As the cover artist, Kendrick stopped by for an interview with Forbes. He dishes on his musical journey, his rap influences and the biggest mistakes he’s made along the way. Take a look BTS at the world behind the conscious rapper.
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is an American rapper hailing from the streets of Compton, California. He started on his musical career as a young teenager under the name K-Dot and has since reverted back to simply Kendrick Lamar. He’s steadily been making a name for himself in the music industry with hits like “Humble” making it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list.
Here’s some outtakes from Forbes’ interview with the seven time Grammy winning rapper:
Q: The audience is clearly familiar with Kendrick Lamar, the rapper. But what don’t they know about Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, the human being, and how he got his start?
A: I fell in love with hip-hop at four years old, we played music all day in the house. It’s always been my passion. It’s just a lifestyle for me. I actually started freestyling when I was probably eight years old. That’s for sure. I don’t think I ever said that, told y’all that.
Q: If you had to pick a moment when you realized, “This is it, I’ve made it. I think this rap thing is gonna take off,” when was that?
A: I think when I made a terrible single, it was just garbage. That’s the real moment for sure. It’s the real moment because, at that point you’re at your lowest, and what you think you should be doing, but at the same time, I wasn’t aware that that was my highest point because I got back in there and I did it all over again, and continued to push through. That’s when I realized I really wanna do this, because I ain’t give up.
Q: People call you a conscious rapper. How do you feel about that label? Do you embrace it? How do you define yourself?
A: I always go back to what 50 Cent said, and it always stuck with me. He said, “We all are conscious, whether you’re doing gangsta rap, whether you’re doing so called conscious rap, you alive and you’re telling your true feelings … these are your true thoughts and you’re conscious of them, and you’re aware of them. Simple as that.” When he said that, that inspired me to not only recognize my own influence on what I have with my people.
Q: You mentioned mistakes. What do you think your biggest mistake was other than that song that you won’t name? And what did you learn from it?
A: My biggest mistake was watching the other artists’ success and thinking that can be my own success. Everybody’s their own individual, you know? A lot of the times, like I said, you listen to the radio, you be pushed by what the industry is doing, or what’s popping at the moment. But the day I changed my name (from K-Dot) to my real name, Kendrick Lamar, and found my true story, that’s when I started getting the looks, and the ears that I wanted.
To end things off, the “HUMBLE” rapper leaves us with a little inspiration.
“So, to anybody in a situation where they feel like they truly believe something or truly have a passion for what they doing or for what they putting out there and the energy they putting out there, and you don’t feel like it’s working, please believe it’s working … it will be working for the next kid that’s looking up to you or somebody that’s inspired by you at the next generation. So you have to look at, from a base of what do you want to be remembered for. Simple as that” he says.
There you have it. Let us know what you made of this interview in the comments below, or send over a tweet @umusic.