Kendrick Lamar addressed criticism from Geraldo Rivera over his performance at the BET Awards Sunday (June 28). Rivera used Lamar’s performance, which featured vandalized police cars and anti-police lyrics, as justification to say that “Hip Hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years.”

“This is our music,” the Top Dawg rapper says during an appearance on TMZ Live today (July 2). “This is us expressing ourselves. Rather [than] going out here and doing the murders myself, I want to express myself in a positive light the same way other artists are doing. Not going out in the streets, go in the booth and talking about the situation and hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it in a positive manner. Coming from these streets and coming from these neighborhoods, we’re taking our talents and putting ’em inside the studio.”

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Lamar says that the lyric “We hate po-po” was taken out of context from the song “Alright.” He was disappointed that Rivera chose to focus on one line instead of the overall message of hope.

“You can’t dilute the message,” he says.

The video for the song dropped Tuesday (June 30), and during the TMZ interview, Lamar explains the process of making the black-and-white visual where he is flying through the air.

“That was the most uncomfortable three days of my life,” he says. “I’m talking about, man they had me on this little harness strapped up 30, 40 feet in the air. It was painful. They said it was the same harnesses they use for Spider-Man and all types of other movies.”

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