Hip-Hop Junkie: Terry Crews
He’s a diehard Kendrick Lamar fan.
By Emmanuel C.M.
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

XXL: So you hitting the Quan with Kendrick Lamar in his “These Walls” video is hilarious. How did that happen?
Terry Crews:
I am the biggest Kendrick Lamar fan, probably, in the world. I listened to him back when he had Section.80. Everything I heard from him I said, “This kid is different.” And he’s artistic. So I get a direct message [on Twitter] like, “Hey man, hit me up.” Then he calls my manager. My manager tells me, “I don’t know if we can fit this into your schedule.” I said, “Bruh, this is Kendrick Lamar. Whatever he says, let’s do.” And literally a couple days after that phone call, I talked to [Kendrick] on the phone and said, “I love the concept, let’s make it happen.” And there it was. We met a couple days later, it was on a weekend and I got it done. I knew he wanted to go a comedic route. That was the whole thing, a Black comedy. We basically knew how funny hitting the Quan would be. We knew no one was going to see that coming. That Quan was hit.

Did you practice the dance first?
I’m a dancer, first. I was a breakdancer back in Flint, Mich. I spent my time on cardboards back in the 1980s. I always understood what [dance] meant to people, especially Black people. It’s kind of a unifying thing for us, one move that everybody can do together. I heard the song before and they sent me the video for “Hit The Quan.” I just started watching all the Internet videos of people putting them out. I said this is going to be hot. But we decided to make it as gangsta as possible.

What did you grow up listening to?
When I first heard [Run-DMC’s] “Sucker M.C.’s”, I ain’t never heard anything like that. It was so powerful and so forceful. It was the beat, it was the lyrics, it was unforgiving and it was absolutely the way I felt at the time. It changed my life. Yo! Bum Rush the Show was another one. Then Tribe Called Quest, then De La Soul...see when that stuff came out it was like a renaissance. No one knew what hip-hop was going to be. It was so fresh and so real. I mean [Tribe’s] People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, I remember sitting there and listening to it for hours. I’m kind of like Flying Lotus where all of it is experimental. I spend time listening to Madlib, J Dilla instrumentals sometime.

What’s your favorite Kendrick Song?
In the beginning you talking like “Kush & Corinthians.” It’s wild because that Section.80 really woke me up because it had a lot of religious things to it. I would never call myself a religious man but I am spiritual. I always felt that Kendrick has a very spiritual base on a lot of his music but he was really did wrong. I’m very extreme. I don’t have any kind of middle. I love “Alright.” I bumped the whole good kid, m.A.A.d city from the beginning to end and it feels like one song. So it’s kind of hard to pick one.

See Photos From Kendrick Lamar's XXL Winter 2015 Cover Shoot