Kendrick Lamar : How To Clique a Butterfly
Mouloud : “I respect so much the fact that you don’t drink, smoke, and that you say it, because they always put this like it’s cool to smoke or drink.”
“I’m my own individual man, that’s it. Not smoking and not drinking doesn’t put down my manhood and my coolness, you know. I’ve been cool since elementary”.
“I never begged for the attention” he adds. “I could never say in my lyrics “Back then they didn’t like me but now I got money they like me”. I could never say that”. “I take that same attention and I apply it to my lifestyle now ».
Kendrick doesn’t want to say much about his next album..
“Dre’s working, Dre’s working. He’s a scientist. And when you’re a scientist you can’t give away the X, Y and the Zs…”
Then what about his relationship with Dre ?
“I’ve learnt a lot of things from Dre in the studio. He’s definitely working, I think that I’m slowing him down”. “He’s a perfectionist. He’s a scientist, I can tell the people the man is a scientist.”
Mouloud : « When you went to the studio with him for the first time, you did a lot of tracks in one day ». Was it a big pressure to be in front of Dr. Dre ?
“It was definitely pressure. The sessions that I had with Dr. Dre was confirmation that I’m arrived… (…) in this type of hostile environment.” “Dr. Dre in the studio, Eminem in the studio… I was still able to write raps, at a high level, without so much nervousness where I couldn’t do it.”
“When we played it back, I knew that I was ready for anything that this music game was going to bring to me. Because I accomplished displaying my talent in front of people that I always looked up to. And from that moment… There’s nothing I can’t do.”
Mouloud : « When you were a kid, you saw the shooting of a Tupac video. There’s his voice in this album. There’s one song from Tupac that makes me think about you, it’s Temptation. I feel that all your carrier is about fighting temptation. What is the temptation you’re fighting now ? ».
“It’s the confliction. I think my music is always conflicted, and I think it’s why people relate to it.”
“I want to put positive vibes in my music. But actually who I am as a person is not the song. That’s who I wanna be.”
“In my album, the confliction of today is : how can I use my leadership ? It’s knowing what to do with it. You come from this place of negativity, of not having nothing or following the older people you look up to, and now you’re taking the lead for thousands of people around the world. That brings a whole lot of change.”
Mouloud : « And you say that the kids take very seriously what the rap artists do. That’s why you’re careful of what you’re saying. But when you were a kid you were listening to NWA… And it’s ok for you ».
“It’s ok for me because when I was listening to NWA, anything that I did in the streets, it wasn’t from NWA. My cousins were doing it, my uncles…The songs were just an autobiography of what I was seeing anyway.”
“It’s still gangsta rap, it’s still harsh, some parents may not want their kids to listen to some records. Not all records but some records. But at the same time when I do these records, it’s a sort of responsibility of giving the happenings behind it. Ima talk about killing somebody but it’s not just doing it for fun, with bottles and women around me. I’m talking about it with cuffs and chains.”
About Compton :
“I’m still a product of this environment.”
“It’s really like a psychological think for me to put positive vibes in-between the frustration ant the negativity. The more and more I put it in the Universe the more and more I’ll be in a place of great things. I’m not doing for myself but for the people that is listening to my music, for my city. Maybe we can change the way they think, change the way I think.”
Mouloud explains that he comes from the suburbs of Paris, which is not the same environment as Compton but still has this mix of cultures. « What I recognize in your carrier », he says, “is that when you come from there and you reach exposition and light, it’s hard to go back, and watch, and do not forget where you’re from ».
Kendrick : “I don’t think that one individual that lives in the ghetto wants to stay in the ghetto.” “You bring me a person that wanna move back to the hood.”
“Now, with that being said, you don’t wanna forget where you come from.”
“My folks always told me the best thing for me to do is making it out and giving inspiration to those who are still there. Anything else I do besides that, it’s extra credit. This is why, you know, OG is still in me (…) Nobody tells me to do it, it’s just my heart, period.”
Mouloud : « You are a part of the generation were kids saw the riots in Los Angeles, who saw a black president like Barack Obama and who saw many black people still killed by policeman. What does it feel to live in this schizophrenia ? »
Kendrick : “It’s frustating because we don’t know what to do. It’s always going on like that on my neighbourhood. But now, with all the medias and the technology all around, now we get to see that it’s not even in Compton, but it’s happening all over the world. That makes it even more frustrating. My family, my little brother and my little sister are in Compton. I’m still in the process of being a teenager. When I see these kids be killed like this, it’s hard for me. I can’t really complain about it, unless I build a solution.”
Mouloud : “When you grew up like this and you see that the rap game now is more about game than rap, what do you think about it?”
Kendrick : “It’s ridiculous, especially when you know the real and you know they know the real. Some artists, they go and get their rap in order to enrol a type of image (…) I don’t want to be this kind of artist.”
Mouloud : “The name of the album To pimp a butterfly is to me the way that people see the hip hop culture, like the most of journalists, and the mainstream media will stop on the word “Pimp” and I will focus on the word “butterfly””
Kendrick : “That’s the contrast. I think that this title is gonna live forever. (…) It represents so many things, it represents taking a pure of something, it represents decision-making on our own. Whatever your art is, how you can manipulate it, for better or for worse. It’s your decision. I could pimp my own celebrity, for the better of my community or for the better of the world. Or I could be selfish and take advantage of it sayin’ You know what, fuck everything. Im pimpin’ it like that, it’s my decision.”
Mouloud : “The show is called Clique. What is your definition of a Clique ?”
Kendrick : “The first thing that gets on my head is a crew, a crew of brotherhood, a crew of unity, you can be two people or you can be ten people, you know what I’m sayin’ : Unity.”
Mouloud : “Welcome in our Clique.”
Kendrick : “Thanks man for me being a part of your Clique.”