3 Interesting Tidbits From Kendrick Lamar’s ‘New York Times Magazine’ Feature

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
kendrick lamar
Photo Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

A New York Times Magazine cover story centers the friendship and collaboration between pgLang founders Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free.

Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free are detailing their plans for record label and multimedia company pgLang. On Tuesday (December 27), The New York Times Magazine published a feature on the duo, with portions describing Lamar’s recent tour and and his fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, which is nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album at the 2023 Grammy Awards. Here’s three things we learned about Lamar and Free, whose legal name is David Friley, in the NYT article written by journalist Mitchell S. Jackson.

1. Kendrick Lamar’s Idea for The Big Steppers Tour Was to Go “Hood Beethoven”

For the article, Friley attended the London O2 Arena stop of Lamar’s Big Steppers Tour, a heavily choreographed 2-hour performance with pgLang artists Baby Keem and Tanna Leone as openers. Calling the intention for the tour “Hood Beethoven,” Lamar added, “Now incorporate that with dance and art, and you get this contextualized, theatrical type of performance. That’s what it built into. Then you put it all in the platform, all on the deck. It feels like a theatrical hip-hop show, and not the corny [expletive].”

2. Lamar Noticed Dave Free’s Dedication to His Career While Editing the “Hiiipower” Music Video

After the video for Lamar’s Section.80 single “Hiiipower” was shot, the TDE crew was racing against time to edit the visual.

“We were telling them this needs to be this, and they didn’t want to hear us,” Dave told NYT. “They’re like, ‘No, this is how it needs to be done.’ So it was just me and Kendrick in there being like, ‘No we’re going to do it like this.’”

Dave then asked Lamar’s team, including director Fredo, to teach him how to edit. Observing Free’s commitment to finishing the video, Lamar recounted Free’s loyalty from the beginning of the artist’s career.

“To see somebody that much devoted to artists’ crafts, where he’s willing to sit with them and edit the video himself, it lets me know what type of not only businessman, but what type of friendship and what type of dedication he has for something he believes in,” Lamar said. “It was my song. Not his song. I go on tour and perform that song and make millions of dollars. So, for him to be willing to sit there and do that, day in day out, that let me know. OK, this is a person you want to be around. He got the best interest to really thug it out with you without even thinking about a check at that point. We just thinking about being creative and the best, and from that day forward, everything flipped.”

3. Lamar’s Refusal to Use Social Media Comes From Not Wanting to Be Ego-Centric

The Grammy Award-winning rapper has spoken on not using social media previously, but explained to NYT that he stays offline to mainly keep himself humble.

“My social media, most of the time, is completely off,” Kendrick Lamar told NYT. “Because I know, like … I can easily smell my own [expletive]. I know. … Like, I’m not one of those dudes that be like, Oh, yeah, I know how good I am, but I also know the reason why I’m so good is because God’s blessed me with the talent to execute on the talent, and the moment that you start getting lost in your ego, that’s when you start going down.”

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