For the cover story of the current issue of Interview magazine, comedy legend Dave Chappelle sat down with Kendrick Lamar, one of hip-hop’s own new legends for a wide-reaching conversation. At its core, their dialogue is about the roles and responsibilities of the artist, what it means to be both an artist and a man, and what does being a creative being mean at this exact moment in time.
An excerpt from the interview:
CHAPPELLE: Me and Mos Def argue about this all the time. Mos is of the belief that a person with a platform has a responsibility to other people. It’s the old adage, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think some people can make conscious records, and some people can make booty records, and other people can make whatever the fuck they want records. But what do you feel, personally, when you’re making a record? Do you have a mission statement? What, if anything, do you hope to accomplish with your platform?
LAMAR: As I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve learned that my mission statement is really self-expression. I don’t want anybody to classify my music. I want them to say, “This is somebody who’s recognizing his true feelings, his true emotions, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and views on the world, all on one record.” I want people to recognize that and to take it and apply it to their own lives. You know what I’m saying? The more and more I get out and talk to different people, I realize they appreciate that—me being unapologetic in whatever views and approach I have.
CHAPPELLE: That’s the way I like to do it, as well: go for broke. It feels better to just say it. Is “Duckworth” [a track on DAMN. in which Lamar narrates the story of his father, “Ducky,” preventing an armed robbery, as well as his own potential murder, at the KFC where he was then working to provide for Lamar] a true story?
LAMAR: True story, and one of my favorite records on the album.
CHAPPELLE: A profound story, too. I like the meditation of it.
LAMAR: The idea that I wanted to put across from that event was one of perspective. Everybody has their own perspective, and recognizing someone else’s perspective blows my mind a hundred thousand percent. The way that event unfolded … I had to sit down and ask my pops, “What was your perspective at the moment?” And, “Did you ever think it would come around full circle like that?” That always fascinated me.
The rest of the interview can be found here.
All photos courtesy Interview magazine.