Quincy Jones Passes His Torch of Knowledge & Wisdom About Music & Life to Kendrick Lamar (Video)
“Music can never be more or less than what you are as a human being…You get back what you give.” As a student of music, 2015 has been an advanced PhD curriculum for Kendrick Lamar. Earlier in the year, he interviewed all of the remaining members of N.W.A., as he sat with Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella, collectively. So, how do you top a 30-minute crash course with some of your biggest influences? You go to the source; the man who produced the biggest album of all-time and worked with some of the greatest artists to grace this planet, from Michael Jackson to Miles Davis. That man, the one who uttered the quote above, is none other than Quincy Jones.
Jones and Lamar met for an exchange that was part conversation and part symbolic torch-passing from one of music’s most revered innovators to another who has quickly placed himself on that trajectory. The meeting was orchestrated by Hypetrak, who not only captured the conversation, but summarized the entire day in an excellent piece. Kendrick quickly learned that he was not the first good kid to have to navigate the treacheries of a mad city. Quincy told a story of a violent encounter in 1930s Chicago that left an indelible mark. “That’s my medal,” he said, pointing to a scar on his hand. “Seven years old, wrong neighborhood; they took a switchblade and nailed my hand to a fence. I almost died. And you think it’s heavy now? Shit…The hood is the same everywhere in the world.,” said Jones.Throughout the conversation, Jones dropped similar jewels. When discussing the importance of music to the world, he said “The last things to leave this planet will be water and music. People cannot live without music.”
Though the discussion was weighty, it was not all heavy. Q shared with Kendrick the importance of songwriting, saying “a great song can make the worst singer a star, and a bad song cannot be saved by the two best singers in the world.” The two also discussed Jones’ work with Michael Jackson on Thriller, as well as his seminal role in bringing the Jazz and Hip-Hop worlds together on his 1989 album, Back on the Block, which took home 7 Grammy Awards, including the one for album of the year.
While Kendrick was visibly nervous with anticipation and understanding of the historical significance of Jones before he arrived, by the end, he had earned the full respect and ultimate co-sign from his musical colleague. “I’m glad you’re doing the amalgamation of all of our cultures,” Jones told him. “You are the future.”