Kendrick Lamar wants to see hip-hop music “evolve”.
The Compton-born star is among the biggest-selling acts in modern rap music, but Kendrick believes the genre needs to keep pushing boundaries while also retaining a healthy respects for its pioneers.
Kendrick explained: “I want hip-hop to continue to evolve. That’s why I can’t shun a lot of the artists that may not be a Kendrick Lamar. But this is what I tell them every time I see them … be yourself and do what you do but also know who laid down the groundwork.”
Kendrick claimed that being respectful of older, more established rap acts is key to the genre’s evolution.
He told Forbes magazine: “Don’t go on your interviews and diss them and say you don’t like them and you don’t care for them. That’s your opinion, that’s cool but you have to respect them. So talking down on the folks that inspired us to do this, it’d never be right. You dig what I’m saying? So at the end of the day as long as you be who you are but respect what got us here, that’s how you continue to evolve.”
Kendrick cited the likes of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre as being big influences on his own career.
The 30-year-old star said he felt like he could relate to other artists who also hailed from Los Angeles.
Asked who’s inspired his own success, Kendrick explained: “From the early days growing up, of course, a lot of west coast music. Snoop, Dr. Dre, N.W.A, Ice Cube, you know, when he was doing that solo thing, for sure. Tupac, of course. Kurupt.
“I think what all these dudes had in common for me, other than the fact that they had the lifestyle of being in LA and they looked like the people that I knew, it was talking about real things.
“Maybe I didn’t understand them as a kid, but the people around me understood them and I recognised the connection they had with that, and I looked and I said, ‘I want to have that same connection one day.'”