Earlier this year, both Dave Chappelle and Kendrick Lamar returned to their respective scenes and proved that they remain among the top of the class.
Now, Interview Magazine has put the two together for a conversation on creativity, careers and their personal relationships. It’s billed as Chappelle interviewing Lamar, but in actual fact it reads as a magnificent insight into the minds of both men on several key topics.
Discussing the intersection between comedy and Hip Hop, Chappelle asked: “In comedy right now, the issue is, “When does a comedian go too far?” And I imagine in hip-hop that’s been a long-standing debate—even when I was coming up, when Bill Clinton went after Sister Souljah. When you write, how much do you think about the repercussions of anything you might say?”
Kendrick answered: “When I look at comedy—at Richard Pryor, at you—it’s all self-expression. I apply that same method to my music. I came up listening to N.W.A and Snoop. Like them, it’s in me to express how I feel. You might like it or you might not, but I take that stand.”
"When I look at comedy—at Richard Pryor, at you—it's all self-expression. I apply that same method to my music. I came up listening to N.W.A and Snoop. Like them, it's in me to express how I feel. You might like it or you might not, but I take that stand." @kendricklamar to #davechappelle 📸 @gstyles. Styling @menamorado. Hair @mauricemanley2. Makeup @mirachai. Intro @chriswallace4. Cc @fabienbaron @interscope
Kendrick’s need for self-expression was a recurring theme throughout the conversation, with the Compton rapper explaining: “As I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve learned that my mission statement is really self-expression. I don’t want anybody to classify my music. I want them to say, “This is somebody who’s recognizing his true feelings, his true emotions, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and views on the world, all on one record.”
As for how his expression is interpreted by others, the artist behind DX’s Top Album of 2017 (So Far) had also evidently thought about it a lot: “Everybody has their own way of hearing songs. My fans are usually pretty on point. Sometimes they go all the way to the bottom of it.”
“It’s fascinating to me how far an idea can go. I wrote most of my first album in my mom’s kitchen, and now I can go around the world and hear people recite those lyrics, and understand the story, even though they’re not from the same area I grew up in.”
Read the full conversation between the two men here.