Kendrick Lamar Explains How 50 Cent Influenced Him

Aside from his collaborative single “The Hillbillies” with his cousin Baby Keem in May, Kendrick Lamar has been pretty quiet since returning home from his The Big Steppers Tour in late 2022. However, this week, he took time out of his schedule to share a special moment with rising Nigerian singer Teams, as she’s been getting ready to release a new album soon.

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On Tuesday (August 29), Interview Magazine released a new article that sees Lamar interview Tems, where he asks her about her childhood, her influences, her album preparation, and much more. At one point in their conversation though, while the two discussed who they are outside of their music, Lamar recalled a quote from 50 Cent that’s resonated with him throughout his career.

Without mentioning the specific interview, Lamar explained how 50’s take on being “a conscious artist” spoke to him.

“Now, I’ve always studied 50 Cent’s music and watched his interviews, and someone asked if he was a conscious artist,” Lamar told Tems. “He said, ‘Yeah, I’m a conscious artist because I have a conscience.’ That shit blew me away. It gave me a different perspective—50 drops a lot of jewels that give me perspective, but that one right there gave me a sense of, okay, a lot of artists live and know how to project duality. That’s the true gift because that’s what life is about in its wholeness. When I seen that I said, ‘I can relate to that,’ and what you’re saying is confirmation that that’s still alive. It’s really dope to hear another artist say it. Lets us know we not crazy.”

[RELATED: Dr. Dre Praises Kendrick Lamar, Calls Him a “Forever Artist”]

Tems agreed with Lamar and 50’s thought process, as she responded about how she tries “to simplify things to the point where I have peace of mind.” Coming off hits like “Higher” and “Free Mind” in 2020, as well as collaborations with Drake in 2021 and Future in 2022, Tems’ currently untitled impending LP will likely launch her into a new stratosphere of global acclaim.

Before this inevitable ascent, though, Tems’ conversation with Lamar was incredibly down to earth. Speaking about facing struggles that every vocalist does, Tems recalled frustrating times when she would find a unique rhythm or melody while singing, only to realize nobody was recording her. Lamar related to this, adding that free-styling to find harmonies and flows is one of his favorite things about being an artist.

“Before I even got into ‘lyricists,’ I was deep into songwriting,” he said. “I always loved the structure of songs — bridges and choruses, melodies. I was exercising that skill way before I even got into writing rhymes super heavy. I just loved R&B oldies, and stuff like that. So I know exactly what you mean. I’m getting the melody and I’m feeling it and the spirit is in me and if that shit ain’t recorded, it ain’t no way of getting that back.”

Photo: Nick Watkin / Clarion Call Media

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