“Pulitzer Prize-winning poet laureate of hip-hop Kendrick Lamar has made history with his music,” noted Vanity Fair in its latest cover story on the hero of hip-hop, literature and music of our times.
In the story, Lamar is endorsed by the likes of Toni Morrison, who noted, “Kendrick Lamar understands and employs blues, jazz, and soul in his music, which makes it startling. His work is more than merely brilliant; it is magic.”
American basketball star Lebron James also endorsed his work in glowing terms. “I love everything about his music. I can literally listen to his music and become a kid growing up with all the struggles in the inner city, but at the same time [learn] all the lessons it taught that we use as men today. If you listen to the last verse of ‘Black Boy Fly’, on good kid, m.A.A.d city, I know exactly what he means—because I was that kid.”
In the extensive cover story, the conversation ranges from the music Lamar listened to in Compton, California, to how he writes music to what inspires him.
“I spend 80 per cent of my time thinking about how I’m going to execute, and that might be a whole year of constantly jotting down ideas, figuring out how I’m going to convey these words to a person to connect to it. What is this word that means this, how did it get here and why did it go there and how can I bring it back there? Then, the lyrics are easy.”
As for his deliverance of those words, Lamar told VF: “It comes from my love of hip-hop. Eminem is probably one of the best wordsmiths ever,” before adding: “There’s a whole list of why, but just bending words... The Marshall Mathers LP changed my life.”