2015 has been good to Kendrick Lamar. The Compton rapper topped the charts (and a slew of year-end lists) with To Pimp a Butterfly—which sold more than 750,000 copies and was streamed 375 million times—sparked an anthem for Black Lives Matter protests with “Alright,” and capped off the year with 11 Grammy nominations.
In a new interview with The New York Times, K-Dot reflected on his big year. “This album did what I wanted it to do,” he said. “That’s not necessarily to sell tons of records—though it didn’t do bad at that either—but to actually have an impact on the people and on the culture of music.”
In addition to celebrating his record-breaking nominations, he reacted to President Obama calling “How Much a Dollar Cost” his favorite song of the year, and gave props to Future and Drake for “killing” it in 2015.
Plus, find out what he thinks of the Drake vs. Meek Mill feud and when his next album will arrive.
On his Grammy nominations: “Being acknowledged for your work is always a great accomplishment, whether it’s people in my city, kids in the street, all the way up to the Grammys.”
On becoming the second most nominated artist in a year following Michael Jackson: “I’m still soaking that all in. Michael will forever be the greatest. I’m glad it was at 11. I would never want to even think about putting myself on the same level as Michael, simply because I haven’t put in the work that he did. It couldn’t be a better number.”
On which category he wants to win most: “I want all of them. Because it’s not only a statement for myself, but it’s a statement for the culture. They’re all important, because of the foundation the forefathers laid before me. Nas didn’t get a chance to be in that position. Pac. So to be acknowledged and to actually win, it’s for all of them.”
On President Obama calling “How Much a Dollar Cost” his favorite song of the year: “I found out when everyone else found out. It’s crazy. That’s one of my favorite records, too. A lot of times we forget that people in higher places are human. To hear that he liked the same kick drums and the same snares that I like, it just makes him that much more relatable as a person, rather than just a president.”
On his favorite music of 2015: “Of course Future killed it. He smashed. Drake smashed. Future’s work ethic was crazy, his energy. This is the thing about hip-hop music and where people get it most misconstrued: It’s all hip-hop. You can’t say that just what I do is hip-hop, because hip-hop is all energies. James Brown can get on the track and mumble all day. But guess what: You felt his soul on those records.”
On whether he followed Drake and Meek Mill’s beef: “Nah, I didn’t. That’s they thing they got going on over there.”
On his next project: “I’m just writing, writing, writing. I keep these tablets on me until I’m inspired to go back in and make the music. I never take a break from my pen, because I pride myself on that. As far as a break from music, yeah, I can’t just go in and force myself. I have to come from an original and organic place. It can come tomorrow; it can come two years from now.”