Kendrick Lamar joined Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 show on Friday to discuss the themes of his new album Damn and to touch on a wide variety of other topics. During their discussion, in true Zane fashion, the two addressed Kendrick's relationship with Barack Obama, those Easter conspiracy theories, the "Duckworth" story, and much more in fascinating detail.
"Everything for me is about execution," Lamar told Lowe of the density of Damn and the layers of his creative process. "I can go in with a thousand ideas but if I'm not executing it right it doesn't feel like home to me." Lamar agreed with Lowe that a central part of Damn's theme is the idea of self-preservation, an idea he explained further by bringing it back to To Pimp a Butterfly.
"The best way for me to put it, To Pimp a Butterfly would be the idea of the thought of changing the world and how we worked and approached things," Lamar said. "Damn would be the idea I can't change the world until I change myself. So when you listen to records like 'PRIDE.,' 'HUMBLE.,' 'LUST.,' 'LOVE.,' these are all just human emotions and me looking in the mirror and coming to grips with them. Thinking of the idea of the word itself and combine them into records. I would hope the listener can take heed and grab something from both of them two ideas and carry out their day to the best potential of themselves they see."
A track like "Duckworth," which is based on a true story, helped Lamar and the Top Dawg team take a brief step back and gain a fresh perspective on their successes. "Top himself didn't know I was going to do it or even execute it in that fashion, to be the last song or to be anywhere," Lamar revealed. "Just making it make sense. I remember playing it for him, he flipped because further than the song, when you really can hear your life in words that is so true to you and that effected your life one hundred percent through one decision, it really makes you sit back and cherish the moment. I think that's something we all did playing that record. Like, man, look where we at. We're recording music for the world to hear and we’re taking care of our families. We're blessed."
Being able to bring Mike Will Made-It and Rihanna into the mix represents two collaborative experiences he had been hoping to put together for quite some time. Occasionally, Lamar said, Mike Will would hit him with a text and ask if it was time to "make some joints" together yet. Eventually, the time was right.
With Rihanna, her name "immediately" popped up once he did the "Loyalty" record. "I've always wanted to work with Rihanna," he told Lowe. "I love everything about her. Her artistry, how she represents women to not only be themselves but to express themselves the way she expresses herself through music, and how she carries herself. I love everything about her so I always wanted to work with her."
Lamar and Lowe also discussed Fox News making him the center of "clickbait" ("I wasn't for it"), what he learned from Obama, and his decision on Damn to choose self-evaluation over entirely Trump-centered lyrics. You can go catch the full discussion here.