Among those who got a rare listen to Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city album before its release was OutKast lyricist Andre 3000. During a story featured in XXL magazine’s Winter 2014 issue, K-Dot shared the story of how he ended up playing “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” for Andre before the release of good kid, m.A.A.d city.
According to the Compton, California rapper, he was in the studio with Dr. Dre and Andre 3000 when Dre asked him to “Play some stuff.” He added that outside of the encounter with Andre, he rarely plays music for anybody when he’s working on an album.
“I think the first time I played ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ for Andre 3000 was before it came out,” Kendrick said. “I never share my album while I’m creating. I think that the situation with Andre was one of those things where he was in the studio with Dre and Dre was like, ‘Play some stuff.’ I can’t say no to Dr. Dre. But me creating music, I never really play music for anybody, even people inside the camp because it can almost sway your creative process 100 percent. So along with that, I cut off everything on the radio; I really just duck off from music. Because I’m gonna be influenced and I don’t want to be. That has always been my process. I just feel like, it’s really the only prized possession that I actually can control, you know? It’s selfishness for sure, but it’s my selfishness and I own it.”
Kendrick also revealed that at one point in the recording process he was “very doubtful” that good kid, m.A.A.d city would be successful. He says he then received praise from Pharrell Williams at a time when he was “feeling super insecure” about the project.
“I’d be lying to you to say I knew good kid, m.A.A.d city would be as successful as it has been,” he said. “In the beginning I was very doubtful. Once I was done, the jitters hit me so fast. I was so confident in making it, because I was like, ‘This is it, man. Nobody heard this story and if you heard it, you heard it in bits and pieces but I’m finna put it to you in a whole album—from Compton, from the hood, from the streets—it’s a whole other perspective and light, I’ma go back and do the skits just like how Biggie and Dre and Snoop and ’Pac did it. And I’ma tell my story.’ Then I wrapped up with it and said, ‘Man, what’s on the radio right now? I don’t think they doin’ skits and things like that.’ I don’t know if the people are gonna understand what I’m talkin’ about on this album because it’s almost like a puzzle pieced together, and albums ain’t been created like this in a long time.
“I was nervous because I didn’t think the people would understand it,” the TDE rapper added. “And I get a call from Pharrell. He said he had a copy of the album and it’s amazing. And I was like, that call was right on time because that was when I was feeling super insecure about it. Pharrell said, ‘Never feel that way again. When that little negative man come behind your head, always follow your first heart, and that was your first heart, to put the album out like this.’ This is his words verbatim, he said, ‘Watch what’s gonna happen.’”
Kendrick later spoke on struggling with the leadership role that comes with fame. He added that at this point in his career the world “role model” is one that’s “impossible to fight.”
“I think one of my biggest battles within myself is embracing leadership,” Kendrick said. “You always grow up and you hate the term ‘role model.’ You would say, ‘I don’t wanna be a role model. I don’t want none of that.’ But in actuality, you are the biggest role model. It’s impossible to fight the title of role model. Especially when the type of music I make is so personal. People feel like they can relate to me or that they are me. They feel like they know my whole life story even though we from different worlds. So when I go out and meet them in public, I don’t get a response like, ‘Kendrick, will you sign this real quick?’ Or, ‘I wanna just take this picture with you.’ No, they want to have full conversations. I find out that they live their lives by my music and that right there is something.”
For additional Kendrick Lamar coverage, watch the following DX Daily: