Introducing XXL Freshman Kendrick Lamar
Gov’t Name: Kendrick Lamar
Reppin’: Compton, California
Notable Releases: Singles: “P&P,” featuring Ab-Soul, 2009, “Monster Freestyle” and “Look Out for Detox,” both 2010; Mixtapes: Kendrick Lamar EP, 2009, and Overly Dedicated, 2010
Currently Working On: Untitled independent album with J. Cole, due spring 2011 (Top Dawg); recording for Dr. Dre’s Detox, due April 2011 (Interscope); member of Top Dawg’s rap group Black Hippy, who are currently recording their first independent album, due late 2011 (Top Dawg)
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment
Aligned With: Dr. Dre, Jay Rock and Tech N9ne
"I Do This" ft. Jay Rock
"Look Out For Detox"
On Being a 2011 XXL Freshman: “It means a lot to be on the Freshmen cover. I’ve always said XXL is an incredible magazine, and I’ve always looked up to it. I was always amazed by artists on the Freshmen cover. I’d be trying to figure out, ‘Damn, how’d they get on there.’ I figured that they must’ve done a whole bunch of shit, and I’ve realized they did, because I’ve put in a lot of work, as far as me and my team, to get to this level to be on this cover. The day I see my face on this cover, I’ll probably drop a tear or something. I’ll cop about 15 copies of them muthafuckas. I’m always going to stay true to the people that came up with me from the bottom, as far as my family and friends that wanted to see me get to a certain level of success. I’m supporting a lot people now, just like they were supporting me when I had nothing.
I wasn’t nervous at all the day of the shoot. I was looking forward to meeting these cats that I respect. I was just looking forward to meeting these cats and chatting it up with them and see what their vibes are like. Everyone seemed cool. I definitely want to work with Big K.R.I.T. and I definitely want to work with Yelawolf as well. I like all the cats, but Big K.R.I.T. and Yelawolf stuck out most to me. The round table was dope, a lot of people’s opinions on certain situations. I got to express myself more so than just music. I liked it a lot.
This is just the beginning. I plan to capitalize on the cover by dropping a project to be released as soon as the hard copies of the cover come out. I know there’s a lot of speculation behind the cover and a lot of people don’t know me. Getting on this cover was definitely a goal because you watched all the other cats that was on there and you respect them and be like, ‘Whoa this is a credible magazine.’ You’ve gotta be dope to be on there and looked at by [XXL] so I always thought it was an accomplishment. I really appreciate y’all for looking out. I always keep the mindset that the music should go further than what it lives for, when people see the cover they’re going to expect music from me, so I’ve gotta be on top of that. I’ve gotta be on top of my interviews. I’ve gotta be on top of my shows. I just gotta keep the visuals out there now that the cover is out.
It means a lot [that there are] three [West Coast] artists on the cover. Myself, YG, and Lil B—his crazy ass, that was a stunt right there to me. Like, I said XXL was a credible magazine for them to have three West Coast artists on there. Last year [there] was three, too. Fashawn, Jay Rock and Nipsey. To come back and do it twice —that says a lot. That means we’ve got a lot of talent and were moving man, hopefully next year [there] will be four.
[This cover is] going to open a few doors, I know beyond the music, my visual opened up for people who haven’t heard me. There’s a lot more gas on the industry as far as labels. Not saying that I’m looking to gravitate towards labels but it puts more gas and people see that real hip-hop and real music can actually still stay in the industry. You know, you don’t have to be a super credible artist on [a major] label to jump on the XXL mag. You can hold down your city and stay true to yourself and do what you want to do and make noise, and it still will get a certain amount of credit. So, I think it will open up a lot of doors visually. A lot more people will be hearing my music and be turned on. Other than the cover, I’ve just been locked in the studio really, trying to finish up these projects, trying to finish up Detox [with Dr. Dre], before I start with my own album."
FOR MORE ON THE 2011 FRESHMEN COP THE APRIL ISSUE OF XXL ON SALE MARCH 15