Kendrick Lamar on Donald Trump’s presidency: “It’s just building up the fire in me”

"How can you follow someone who doesn't know how to approach someone or speak to them kindly and with compassion and sensitivity?"

Kendrick Lamar, photo by Amy Price

Photo by Amy Price

Kendrick Lamar spoke to Touré for a rare interview published by i-d. Over the course of their conversation, Lamar discussed his relationship with former president Barack Obama and how the election of Donald Trump was a “complete mindfuck.”

The Compton MC recounted the time he spent in the White House and how he and Obama bonded over their similar upbringings. “I was talking to Obama,” Lamar remembered, “and the craziest thing he said was, ‘Wow, how did we both get here?’ Blew my mind away. I mean, it’s just a surreal moment when you have two black individuals, knowledgeable individuals, but who also come from these backgrounds where they say we’ll never touch ground inside these floors.”

“That’s what blows me up. Being in there and talking to him and seeing the type of intelligence that he has and the influence that he has, not only on me, but on my community. It just always takes me back to the idea of how far we have come along with this idea about how [much] further we can go. Just him being in office sparks the idea that us as a people, we can do anything that we want to do. And we have smarts and the brains and the intelligence to do it.”

Which is why Trump’s election was a “complete mindfuck” for Lamar, as he went from someone who was embraced by the White House to “feeling hate by it.”

“The key differences [between Obama and Trump] are morals, dignity, principles, common sense,” he explained to Touré. “How can you follow someone who doesn’t know how to approach someone or speak to them kindly and with compassion and sensitivity?”

Lamar isn’t deterred, however. “It’s just building up the fire in me,” he noted. “It builds the fire for me to keep pushing as hard as I want to push.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Lamar explains why he needs to be completely sober when making music (“That way I know it’s me making it, not just the liquor!”); reveals why the DAMN. track “FEAR.” contains the best verses he’s ever written (“The first verse is everything that I feared from the time that I was seven years old. The second verse I was 17, in the third it’s everything I feared when I was 27. These verses are completely honest”); and he discusses his new-found appreciation for meditation (“Years go by so quick, because you’re working and you’re also planning for more work within the next six months to a year. So for me, I just have to sit down and reflect on what’s going on in these 30 minutes”). You can read the full interview here.

Watch Lamar’s video for “ELEMENT.”:


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