Kendrick Lamar has addressed the lengthy gaps between his albums.
The Compton rapper’s landmark ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’ landed in 2012, but it took Kendrick more than two years to sculpt an official follow up.
With ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ smashing expectations in 2015, it then took the rapper another two years to deliver 2017’s ‘DAMN’.
In conversation with Baby Keen for iD’s 40th anniversary celebration, Kendrick Lamar said he needs to “surprise” himself with each new project.
“That was it. ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ did that for me. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to sound, built with jazz and blues and hip-hop. But it was more ‘how am I gonna execute that?’”
“I already knew off the top I can’t make ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City Part Two’,” he said. “The second I’m making that, it’s corny bro. That takes the feeling away from the first. I need that motherfucker to live in its own world. Then boom: ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’. Some people love it to death, some people hate it.”
Describing his aversion to “the sophomore jinx” of ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’, Kendrick added that it was written “for that year and for that time. I was in a different space in my life”.
He said: “I spend the whole year just thinking about how I’m gonna execute a new sound, I can’t do the same thing over and over… I need something to get me excited. I see you get frustrated sometimes because you want some new shit.”