Kendrick Lamar has recently established himself as one of the West Coast’s most promising young MCs, releasing his #Section80 album to critical acclaim. Speaking with Out Da Box TV, the Compton, California native explained that if it weren’t for 2Pac and DMX, he may not have been inspired to become a rapper.

“I was raised around music my whole life, from gangsta rap to oldies. My pops, my moms, they played it all, you dig that?” he said. “So it was inevitable, truthfully. I really was a big ‘Pac fan. When ‘Pac passed, there really was a void that was missing in Hip Hop. DMX came out, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, that inspired me to start writing my own bars. I just love the technique, I love the art. I went back and studied all the legends and developed my craft, and it made Kendrick Lamar.”

As for what motivates him to continue rapping, he wants to be able to touch people by having listeners relate to his struggle through music.

“Just looking at the fact why everybody called these certain individual people legends,” he explains. “It wasn’t just the rhymes. They drew people in with their lifestyle and made people related to them. Made music people can relate to rather than rapping 100 bars on the track. That’s Hip Hop, that’s art, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to be able move people with your music, and that’s what they did. And that’s something that I started to do.”

Watch the rest of the interview below.

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