This week's cover of Billboard features Kendrick Lamar, the rapper, who is nominated for 11 Grammy awards this year, speaks to Billboard about his determination to win, the cultural impact of his latest album To Pimp A Butterfly, and meeting President Obama.
On how he is feeling ahead of Grammy night:
“It’s bigger than me. When we think about the Grammys, only Lauryn Hilland Outkast have won album of the year. This would be big for hip-hop culture at large.”
On if he thinks he will sweep the award show:
"I want to win them all."
On the impact of his latest release To Pimp A Butterfly:
“The album just had a deeper impact than I expected, because it touched so many homes, and not just in my own community. I guess I’m just speaking words that need to be heard in these times.”
When asked if he knows what he will do for his next album...
“As far as content, what I want to get across, I have an idea,” he says. “But even that’s still premature. Once I get back in that studio, things evolve into other things.”
On meeting President Obama:
“The way people look at me these days -- that’s the same way I looked at President Obama before I met him. We tend to forget that people who’ve attained a certain position are human. When [the president] said to my face what his favorite record was -- I understood that, no matter how high-ranking you get in this world, you’re human.”
Lamar’s time with Obama taught him something else, too:
“No matter how high the pedestal you reach, we all still like a beat,” he says. “Even the president has got to hear that snare drum.”