One week after its release, Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. album has had a huge cultural impact is on course to become the fastest-selling album of the year. In his first interview since the release of the project, Kendrick sat down with Zane Lowe for an in-depth discussion about making an album that isn't about Trump, collaborating with Rihanna, and the true story of his father's encounter with Anthony Tiffith.
The album is a clear departure from the jazz-inflected consciousness of To Pimp A Butterfly, and Kendrick explained that his focus on the new project was directed inward. "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 approach things," he said. " DAMN. would be the idea I can’t change the world until I change myself."
In that same vein, he didn't want the looming shadow of the Trump presidency to overshadow his more important goals: "I wanted more self-evaluation and discipline because — what’s going on now — we're not focusing on him. Whats going on now: we focusing on self."
Kendrick had a chance to meet with Barack Obama during his second term, and he told Lowe that the former president offered him some advice about longevity. "A lot of times, being a kid when he was elected, not a kid just a younger adult, we get the idea — well, I got the idea that shit was going to do a 360 like that," He remembered. "So me have a conversation with him and him sitting me down, he says, ‘Change doesn’t start while I’m here, it starts once we leave the space that we’re in.’"
Regarding "LOYALTY.," his standout collaboration with Rihanna, Kendrick said, "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 caries herself I love everything about her so I always wanted to work with her."
At the end of the interview, Kendrick also confirmed that the story he tells on "DUCKWORTH.," about his father's near-tragic encounter with TDE CEO Anthony Tiffith decades ago, is completely true. "About a year after I met Top Dawg, I met him when I was sixteen, my Pops came to the studio after I’d been locked in with him for a minute and we got a relationship now, bring my Pops through. He heard I was dealing with Top Dawg but my Pops personally don’t know him as Top Dawg," Kendrick explained. "So when he walked in that room and he seen that Top Dawg was this guy, he flipped. Still ’til this day they laugh and they laugh and they trip out and they tell the same story over and over to each other."
Watch Kendrick Lamar's interview with Zane Lowe above.