Fresh off his performance at Coachella, Kendrick Lamar dropped by DJ Skee’s studio to chop it up about his upcoming debut LP Good Kid in a Mad City. During the interview, the Compton emcee spoke on his and Top Dawg Entertainment’s recent record deal with Dr. Dre’s imprint Aftermath Records.
Kendrick explained that the crew decided to align with Dre because of what Dre had to offer them in experience. He noted that Dre recognized TDE’s unity and grass roots beginnings, saying that he wanted to offer them the best platform for them to continue making the kind of music they had previously made.
“We had tons of offers on the table – money, money, money – any individual would’ve took the money fast, but it was about these labels knowing the imprint we already put on the game – our sound and not trying to change that,” he explained. “Dre knew exactly what we were trying to do; he’d been [with] Death Row, he’d been [with] Aftermath, these [are] from the bottom to the top labels. That’s what Top Dawg is; he recognized that, he recognized we move as a unit, and we’re going to continue to push that now. What Dre can do is continue to show us the guides and the steps to how he got to the point where he is at with Aftermath.”
K. Dot also explained his and TDE’s approach to the business aspect of music. He recalled how he was reluctant to sell his debut 2010 mixtape O.verly D.edicated at such an early stage in his career, but TDE founder Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith had faith that Lamar’s fan base would be willing to support their movement. After seeing the TDE line-up’s fortune over the past year, Lamar says he now realizes that his fans will be willing to pay for music because of its quality.
“When we first decided to sell the O.D., I didn’t want to sell [it] because I didn’t feel like people were ready and they didn’t understand where I was coming from as far as the music I was doing – they just weren’t ready to buy a Kendrick Lamar CD,” he said. “Top Dawg made something to me – he said, ‘If you want to change the face [of Hip Hop] and make people stop complaining about the music that they’re hearing on the radio, make these muthafuckas go out and really appreciate the music and spend their last dollar on it, or else you’re going to keep complaining about it.’ And that made a lot of sense to me…we all felt like my music is that damn good where you can go out and spend their few dollars on it…when we did that, muthafuckas did go out and actually buy it – and actually, a whole lot of muthafuckas went out [and bought it]…so what it started off with was believing in the music first.”
Check out the full interview below.