Last night (October 25), Samsung held a release party for its latest smartphone Samsung Galaxy Note2 in Beverly Hills, California. While at the function, XXL caught up with the newly inaugurated posterboy for West Coast hip-hop, Kendrick Lamar, whose recent output good kid, m.A.A.d city has garnered both critical and commercial acclaim. Just before K-Dot gave fellow entertainers, executives, and fans a taste of his soon-to-be classic album—as well as heatrocks from Section.80 and (O)verly (D)edicated—XXL asked for his thoughts on receiving the prestigious XXL rating for his album, unity in West Coast hip-hop, and friendship with J. Cole. —Mando Villasenor (@MandoUN)
XXL: Were you in the studio with the guests on the album?
Kendrick Lamar: Yes, I was in the studio [for] the features on the album. Anybody who knows me in the studio knows, I’m really hand on. I have a particular way I want things to sound, even when I bring a feature in, I already know how I want to hear it in my head. It worked out cool. Everybody was real humble and wanted to get the job done to make the best for this album.
How’d you develop the name “Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter”?
It’s just a play on words. You know, I’m talking about a specific girl, a promiscuous girl. Where I come from in the neighborhood they call it a hoodrat. Yeah, it’s that simple.
On “The Heart Pt. 3 (Will Let It Die)” you stated, “I never screamed out the New West, I didn’t believe,” can you elaborate on that?
There was a point in time when the media or a few artists were making it the New West versus the older cats. It was a division and I didn’t like that, so what I did was to separate myself from that. I chose to stay in the studio and plan on October 22nd—subconsciously, my team and I. What happens is when you make that division it brings everybody down at the same time. And that’s exactly what was happening. I didn’t want to be a part of that. I’ll always be West Coast to the heart but I didn’t like the way we were going about handling that situation. At the end of the day people are going to divide and conquer when they see we have our own self-destruction. Hopefully this album can branch new life from that.
What’s your favorite song from the album?
My favorite song on the album changes throughout the week. This week is “Money Trees.” I’ve been in L.A. for a few days and I was able to see some sunny California after being on this tour. Just that vibe, that feel, that energy you know, being from California, that song really represents that.
You’ve had an in-store signing at the Best Buy in Compton, in which J.Cole showed up. How was that and can you expand on that relationship?
I definitely felt that there was a need to go back to the city at the beginning steps of this album. Just so you can tell these kids that you’re a real person and not just somebody you see on TV. That’s how I looked at all of the people that I looked up to. After a while if you don’t see them then you feel like they’re not there anymore. I wanted to have the initial statement of saying, I come where you come from, I’m right here and you can touch me and believe it’s me and get inspired from it. That’s why I went to Best Buy in Compton, in my city. It did just that.
J. Cole popping up, that was just a plus. It surprised me too because nobody does that in the industry. Nobody’s going to come to a small city in Compton; you know, solo with no security, no nothing. Just to show love and support the music, and I give him the utmost respect. That’s my dog. Since day one, before the world even knew whom Kendrick Lamar was. He said I had the talent that represented not only him, but the culture and he wanted to build from that.