Kendrick Lamar has been on his hip-hop hustle for a decade now, and the West Coast rapper is nowhere near ready to stop.
“I started rhyming at 13. I dropped a mixed tape at 16. I’m 23 now. I’m still developing my craft,” said Kendrick, who has worked with heavy hitters including The Game, DJ Quik and Dr. Dre.
Although he’s from the West Coast, Kendrick said his music doesn’t adhere to any sort of geographical style.
“Life. That’s how I describe my style of music. I really don’t have a word to classify. I go by emotions and how I feel when I wake up that day,” he said. “I’ve ventured out to other music styles and places. I’ve developed a gumbo pot of sound. I don’t want to be put in a box anyway. I’d rather develop my own niche and sound and have everybody else follow.”
Kendrick has more than 70 tracks, but his fans might only hear six or seven when he performs on stage. He’s recently on tour in the Gentleman Jack Arts Beats + Lyrics series. It’s a free concert stopping in Washington, D.C., on April 1. According to Kendrick, the audience can expect “real hip-hop music,” which he said makes this tour a perfect fit for him.
“I represent the same thing,” he said.
Although Kendrick has been known in music circles for years, and has worked with some of hip-hop’s best, he said he’s still not satisfied.
“I got a good start–I got a great start, but I’m always striving for better,” he said. “I’ll never be satisfied until the whole world is recognizing my music.”
Watch Kendrick’s music video for “She Needs Me.”
-Tracy L. Scott