Kendrick Lamar Gives A Glimpse Into His Mindset As He Approaches His New Album (Video)
Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly became a zeitgeist. It seemed to arrive right on time and embodied the spirit of American social consciousness amid the growth of a progressive fight for civil rights in the 21st century. “Alright” became the theme song for a movement, while Lamar’s visit with President Obama and his visceral Awards performance helped make TPAB a cultural a keystone of conversations about race in America (which is in part why the album is going to be preserved in Harvard’s archives). As arguably one of the most influential artists in music today, Lamar’s next album is more than highly anticipated.
The Compton artist (Lamar himself identifies as a writer, not a rapper) has kept a generally tight lip around the details of his as-yet-unnamed follow-up project. However, he did unveil the conceptual framework and mindstate behind it in a recent interview with the New York Times’ T magazine. “To Pimp a Butterfly was addressing the problem,” he says. “I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem anymore.” However, he does seem to feel there’s an oversight that needs to be addressed. “We’re in a time where we exclude one major component out of this whole thing called life: God. Nobody speaks on it because it’s almost in conflict with what’s going on in the world when you talk about politics and government and the system. This is what goes on in my mind as a writer.”
Kendrick continues to describe the thought processes informing his approach to the new album, which include visualizations of the daughter he may have some day, and how being the father of a future woman is something he grapples with on a philosophical level. “One day, I may have a little girl. She’s gonna grow up. She’s gonna be a child I adore, I’m gonna always love her, but she’s gonna reach that one point where she’s gonna start experiencing things,” he says. “And she’s gonna say things or do things that you may not condone, but it’s the reality of it and you know she was always gonna get to that place. And it’s disturbing. But you have to accept it.”
It’s then that he expounds upon “not addressing the problem anymore.” “You have to accept it and you have to have your own solutions to figure out how to handle the action and take action for it. ‘When I say ‘the little girl,’ it’s the analogy of accepting the moment when she grows up. We love women, we enjoy their company. At one point in time I may have a little girl who grows up and tells me about her engagements with a male figure — things that most men don’t want to hear.”
“Learning to accept it, and not run away from it, that’s how I want this album to feel,” he says.
In a video package for the magazine, Lamar says he makes music because of its powers as a form of self-expression, but also because it allows him to be “a voice for those that can’t release their frustration on the mic, you know. They gotta do it on the streets.” He adds, “I wanna put my stories and their stories together for the world to hear.”
There is no news yet about when Heads can expect a new Kendrick Lamar album, but from the words he speaks in this interview, it’s likely to be a powerful token of artistry – and once again, it will be right on time. As he says, “It’s very urgent.”