Kendrick Lamar is one of hip-hop’s biggest enigmas. Since his debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, he has become one of the top figures in hip-hop and one of the most respected rhymers. However, outside of his music, he keeps his life private. In an interview with Citizen Magazine, the Compton-born MC gave readers insight into his way of thinking and why he prefers to move in silence.
“I’ve always been a person that really didn’t dive too headfirst into wanting and needing attention. I mean, we all love attention, but for me, I don’t necessarily adore it. I use it when I want to communicate something,” he said. “The person that people see now is the person that I’ve always been. For me, the privacy thing has never been an issue that I had to carry out with full intention. It’s just who I am. If I feel I have to remove myself, I just remove myself. I won’t complain about it. I won’t cause a big blow-up or a big stir and let the world know that the walls are closing in.”
The Grammy award winner explained that he has worked on himself and invested in himself so much to the point where he barely acknowledges his celebrity. And so, when he sees other celebrities act out due to the pressure of fame, he gives them grace.
“Being able to be aware [of myself emotionally] and be able to eventually grow— emotionally mature to that level, it may take more time than the next man,” he said. “That’s why I never point fingers when artists are not capable of upholding themselves in that type of stressful position because some people grow different and it takes time especially…when who they are and who they want to be sometimes gets distorted.
“For me, it’s all about being aware of how I’m feeling. If it is too much, let me remove myself for a couple of years.”
His ability to stay the same person before fame and manage his private life is rooted in his self-awareness and wanting to grow in his manhood. But it’s not always perfect. There are times when he has to be in people’s faces outside of performances such as interviews and while he may not speak on internal conflicts within his relationship with his high school sweetheart and mother of his two kids, with his label, or with other rappers, negative stories still find their way into the forefront.
“You just got to be real and be true to yourself about what you want. Do you want that attention? Do you want that type of notoriety? Do you want that type of headache? Can you deal with it?” He asked.
“For me, I knew as an artist when I signed up for it, this is what comes with it. And me being a realist and holding myself accountable to that, it never really frustrated me when things got a little bit out of control because ultimately, I knew that I would be able to balance it because of who I am.”
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Featured image by Antony Jones/Getty Images for Spotify