American hip hop rapper, Kendrick Lamar, currently signed to Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath Records, is making waves with his new single, ‘Swimming Pool’ (Drank). Having been picked up and signed by Dr Dre, there’s been a lot of hype surrounding the artist, who has proved to be extremely unique and creative in his approach. However, Kendrick is determined to do his own thing, and not interfere with the creative process by reading too much into the reviews. Growing up, he was greatly influenced by West Coast artists such as Snoop Dog, Dre, Pac, DJ Quik, E-40, and as he started creating his own music in the studio, he looked to icons such as JayZ and Nas. Kendrick is part of the next generation of rappers coming out of Compton, and with that, he brings a fresh and interesting sound.
Speaking to Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, Kendrick comments how ‘Swimming Pools’ was inspired by the 90’s house-parties of Compton CA, where there was so much alcohol flowing, you could almost fill a swimming pool full. Kendrick wanted to journey into that type of lifestyle and make a record, which not only inspired him, but one that allowed him to challenge himself and really stand out from the crowd. He hates how everything today is so ‘trendy’, in terms of flow, and cites albums like ‘Criminals’ and ‘Outckast’ as being the real game-changers, as it puts you in a different space. Kendrick appreciates how they did their own thing, and weren’t confined to what others were doing at the time. It is this same mentality that Kendrick strives for and is the driving force behind his own music.
Having performed at this year’s legendary ‘Coachella’ festival, Kendrick took to the stage with the one and only Dr Dre for ‘The Recipe’. To work with an artist such as Dre, who is still performing and perfecting his craft, was truly inspiring to Kendrick, and one piece of advice Dre gave, always stays with him:
“Always keep the passion, cause when you lose your passion, you start chasing the dollar, and once that dollar weakens, it’s going to weaken you”
His debut album, ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’, is due out October 2nd. While he plans to tour the US, he also hopes to actively tour the rest of the world, and make a connection with the new generation. Regardless of the hype surrounding him, Kendrick is determined to prove himself, as nothing is for free these days.