Kendrick Lamar: Moving People
Photo by: Virgil Solis (click to see full image)
It is a crisp afternoon in late April, and LDRS1354, one of Chicago’s leading streetwear boutiques, is buzzing with activity. While it is not so rare to see LDRS fill up on a warm afternoon, it is outside of the norm for their customers to be wielding video cameras and detachable microphones while picking up the latest custom fitted or the new drop from Akomplice. The reason for such activity on this day is Kendrick Lamar, a buzzing Hip Hop artist from Los Angeles, who is visiting Chicago for his first ever performance in the Windy City.
Kendrick captured fans following the release of 2010′s (O)verly (D)edicated, a mixtape full of raw emotion, and a driving thesis in which Kendrick weighs the pros and cons of a life focused on beats and rhymes. The album is full of internal discussions in which the Compton native asks himself if a career in music is worth pursuing, and fights the pulls between good and bad, a night in the studio vs. a night in the streets. Ultimately, the music wins out. And Kendrick too is beginning to win. Following the mixtape’s release, Kendrick was recognized by Dr. Dre and invited to work on the doctor’s mythical LP, Detox. He also landed on the cover of XXL as part of the magazine’s 11 Freshmen for 2011. And for many, Kendrick is already at the head of his class, as he distinguishes himself by the power, passion, and purpose in his music.
With all the bright lights on the horizon, it’s hard to believe that Kendrick truly thought about walking away from music as is suggested by the lyric, “sometimes I want to say f**k rapping, I need money now,” which appears on the aforementioned critically acclaimed mixtape. ”No, I did think that,” Kendrick tells me after I question the truth behind the lyric. “That was me developing myself when I went by K-Dot in the early stages when I was doing music, and even after the process of continuing to do music and not being paid for it,” he continues. “I think every artist goes through that. You have this passion, but it seems like the light is not shedding. Hundreds or thousands of artists feel this way. When you put all this effort into something and you say, ‘you know what, I’m about to fall back and give the f**k up. I’m about to hit these streets and make money the best way I know how.’ And I felt like that numerous times. But you know what, the small conscious in your head will be like, ‘this is a gift, you better live up to it boy and keep going. That’s what happened with me.’
So Kendrick has continued to share his gift, as well as his purpose. As he prepares for the release of a new project entitled Section 80, and his proper debut album, Good Kid In A Mad City, Kendrick continues to craft songs that are both lyrically impressive as well as spiritually fulfilling. As we found out during the in-store, it all stems from Kendrick’s view on music. He believes that music is a vehicle to inspire, and as he says in the video below, it is supposed to move people.
Watch the clip below in which Kendrick draws parallels between his music and the soul music from the past, and also explains his lyric, “f**k a funeral, just pay my music respect.”
Video by: Tony Shane