Kendrick Lamar on Trump: "Are We Gonna Keep Talking About It, or Are We Gonna Take Action?"

He also dishes on ghostwriting, beefs, and more in a revealing new interview.

By Shawn Cooke Aug 9, 2017
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Kendrick Lamar appears on the latest cover of Rolling Stone, and he gives one of his most revealing interviews since DAMN. came out this April. Kendrick touches on a wide range of issues, from collaborating with Taylor Swift and Bono to his own religion. At one point, he explains why he's stayed mostly silent about Trump so far, wary of adding another vapid echo to the #resistance:

"I mean, it's like beating a dead horse. We already know what it is. Are we gonna keep talking about it or are we gonna take action? You just get to a point where you're tired of talking about it. It weighs you down and it drains your energy when you're speaking about something or someone that's completely ridiculous. So, on and off the album, I took it upon myself to take action in my own community. On the record, I made an action to not speak about what's going on in the world or the places they put us in. Speak on self; reflection of self first. That's where the initial change will start from."

At separate points in the interview, he dishes on ghostwriting and Drake—two ideas which probably aren't mutually exclusive. When asked what his favorite Drake song is, Kendrick dances around the issue: "I got a lot of favorite Drake songs. Can't name one off the back... He has plenty." Earlier, he's asked if it's ever OK for a rapper to hire a ghostwriter, which he seems to think depends on where you position yourself in the industry:

"I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter. If you're saying you're a different type of artist and you don't really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won't be there."

Kendrick also reveals his stance on a beef with more concrete history than his past tension with Drake: Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Apparently, he didn't know that jumping on the "Bad Blood" remix was an implicit pledge of allegiance to Swift in the feud:

"[Through laughter] No, I wasn’t aware of that, bro. That’s a great question. No! On the record, no. Which makes it even more funny now, for sure. That’s far beyond my concern. I have to stay away from that, for sure. That’s some real beef [laughs]."

And most importantly, Kendrick reveals "the difference between black artists and wack artists," which he first teased on "ELEMENT.":

"A wack artist uses other people's music for their approval. We're talking about someone that is scared to make their own voice, chases somebody else's success and their thing, but runs away from their own thing. That's what keeps the game watered-down. Everybody's not going to be able to be a Kendrick Lamar. I'm not telling you to rap like me. Be you. Simple as that."

The whole thing's absolutely worth checking out beyond the highlight reel—read his full interview here.