Kendrick Lamar Pens Letter Expressing Why He Feels Chosen To Lead

As 2015 comes to a close, Kendrick Lamar has been one of the leading voices in not only Hip-Hop, but all of music. K-Dot’s #1 album, To Pimp A Butterfly was a monumental album long before its 11 Grammy nominations, or year-end lists laud it. In looking back at the year that’s been, XXL magazine featured the platinum TDE artist on their cover, and handed him a pen.


XXL published an excerpt, announcing the new issue. In the letter portion released digitally, Kendrick reacts to his fame over the last three-and-a-half years. He examines the turning point in his life and career, and states how it affects his everyday life now. On a larger scale, the MC also spoke about the social injustices going on, and the institutional oppression Black people face, and why he is a product of it:

The past few years or so has been very politically charged and controversial. From Trayvon Martin, to Eric Garner to Michael Brown and issues of police brutality and racism and for so many other reasons. All of it has really struck a nerve with me because when you experience things like that personally and you know the type of hardships and pain that it brings first-hand, it builds a certain rage in you. It brings back memories of when I’m 16 and the police come kicking the door in. They don’t care that I’m a little boy and they stumped me in my back two times and they dragged me out the house and have us all handcuffed. It brings back those memories. Memories of losing loved ones. It brings back some of the most painful memories and deepest thoughts of real life situations that I didn’t even want to address on good kid. Or wasn’t ready to. Rage is the perfect word for it.

Related: How The Grammy Nomination of a Diss Song May Be Their Greatest Hip-Hop Misstep, Yet (Editorial)

He later writes, “I know I’m chosen. I know I’m a favorite. I know in my heart there’s a whole other energy and leadership side of me that I have probably run from my whole life.” Later on, he further explains, “…When you are a voice for the youth, nothing can stop you. The youth is what changes things. Can I lead that? Should I? I get confused because people are championing me to be that vocal point and it’s a challenge for me to be that because I have some fear of that type of power. This goes back to me being who I naturally am or who think that I am now, that 28-year-old kid that’s kind’ve a recluse. But 28 is old enough for me to figure out who I am and have that power at the same time…”
Is there a more important voice in music for 2015 than Kendrick Lamar?

Read: XXL Open Letter by Kendrick Lamar

Related: Kendrick Lamar Was Making Great Music Long Before “Section.80.” Remember “Vanity Slaves” (Audio)