Kendrick Lamar doesn’t want to rap about things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. According to the rapper, he’s more interested in tackling subjects that matter to his fellow human beings.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nas’ acclaimed record Illmatic, Lamar took a moment to discuss how the album and the rapper influenced his career. BET reports that Kendrick and Nas come from very similar backgrounds. While they are from different areas of the country, the circumstances of their youth were essentially the same.
“You hear it in my music what’s surrounded me. And just to be able to elevate your mind a little bit further past that through writing is bigger than one song. In order to do that and craft that, it’s on another plane, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if it wasn’t for that album, truthfully,” Kendrick Lamar explained.
He added, “I rap from the perspective of a human being, and in rap that wasn’t really the thing. I did mine my way, and in me doing mine my way, I think it encouraged a lot more people in the state of rap at that time — and now even — to feel free.”
According to Music Times, Kendrick Lamar was one of a handful of rappers profiled in a recent Google Play documentary about Illmatic. In addition to Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Tech N9ne, Sir Michael Rocks, and Jay Rock also took a moment to discuss how Nas and the album affected their lives and careers.
To help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, Nas and Q-Tip performed “The World is Yours” and “One Love” with the Roots on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. This writer and several other folks are probably feeling a little old right about now.
Kendrick Lamar was likely one of the many people who picked up Illmatic XX earlier this week. The anniversary edition of the classic record contains a 24-page booklet, a remastered version of the original songs, and a handful of demos. Even if you already own a copy, there’s plenty here for a double-dip.
Another album that had a huge influence on Lamar back in the day was Snoop Dogg’s solo debut Doggystyle. During his chat with XXL late last year, the rapper admitted that he was “definitely influenced” by the endeavor.
“The structure. The cohesiveness. The skits. The flow. The melodies Snoop kicked. The raw raps. There wouldn’t be a Kendrick Lamar without ‘Doggystyle.’ [What stood out about the album] was its sound. Albums that last that long have their own sound. It was nothing duplicated, that’s why it stood out. It was that G-Funk,” he explained.
Are you surprised that Kendrick Lamar has a deep appreciation for Nas and Illmatic?
[Image via BET]