Dave Chappelle And Kendrick Lamar Find Common Ground In New Interview
Two pioneers join for a pointed and powerful conversation on artistic duty and upholding their own standards
Search far and wide and you may never come across two individuals as dominant (read: revered) in their respective fields as Kendrick Lamar and Dave Chappelle. Thought they may be separated by generation and geography, each is keenly aware of the other’s contribution to music and comedy, Chappelle being one of few with footing in both worlds (just peep the supporting act line-up for his next Radio City Music Hall takeover.)
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Oddly enough, the two don’t seem to run into each other all too often and outside of a chance encounter backstage at an Eminem performance with J. Cole (from which the above picture was taken) there isn’t any documented evidence of them ever having crossed paths. Until now. In a new interview published by Interview Magazine, a moment of profound reflection is captured between the two legends, who are vocal of their admiration of one another. Chappelle and Lamar discuss what each carries with them from luminaries and yesteryear powerhouses like Tupac, how they’ve carved out their sacred spaces onstage or on record, and why they’ll never apologize for a single word uttered.
Check out some excerpts from the interview below:
Lamar on finding comfort after success:
I think I’m still growing. The more people I meet, the more cultures I start to embrace, the more people I open myself up to—it’s a growing process I’m excited about. But it’s also a challenge for me, to be at this level and still be able to connect with somebody who’s living that everyday life. At first it was something I struggled with, because everything was moving so fast. I didn’t know how to digest it. The best thing I did was go back to the city of Compton, to touch the people who I grew up with and tell them the stories of the people I met around the world. Making To Pimp a Butterfly was me navigating those experiences. I went to Africa and I was like, “This is something I can enjoy and something I can challenge myself with.”
Lamar on how performing in Africa for the first time changed his vantage point:
I went to South Africa—Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg—and those were definitely the “I’ve arrived” shows. Outside of the money, the success, the accolades … This is a place that we, in urban communities, never dream of. We never dream of Africa. Like, “Damn, this is the motherland.” You feel it as soon as you touch down. That moment changed my whole perspective on how to convey my art.
And then the two cap the interview reflecting on the wiseness of Mos Def:
CHAPPELLE: Hopefully, I can catch one of your shows on the road. I’ve heard nothing but good things. As a matter of fact, the first time I heard about you was through Mos, who told me years ago, “You’ve got to watch this kid.”
LAMAR: Mos gave me a lot of game early on. A lot of game.
CHAPPELLE: He said to me that you’re the one. Turns out he was right.