Kendrick Lamar recently dropped off his digital album Section.80, but it’s taken him nearly eight years to put it out. In an interview with TDK, K. Dot recalled his first mixtape that he released at 16 years old and how it helped set his career on the right path.
“A mixtape is raw Hip Hop. Free verse, no structure, good beats, good rhymes – great mixtape. My first mixtape, I was 16 and it was called Y.H.N.I.C., Youngest Head Nigga In Charge. Kind of ignorant, right?” he said. “We put it out on a local scale in Compton and built a buzz in the city and eventually got to this guy named Top Dawg, he had his own independent label and I’ve been with them since and we’ve just been developing my sound and branching off of that mixtape to eventually have a debut album.”
He also spoke on how Tupac Shakur is one of his biggest inspirations, and that he looks at the world around him to motivate his raps.
“I draw from experience, I draw from people around me,” he continued. “I like people in general. My life, family, experiences, experiences of other people, just going through situations in life, in general. I think music is supposed to move, and the best way to move a person is to relate and connect to what they’re going through.”