Kendrick Lamar Discusses Police Brutality, Racism and Success

“How much power do I want? How much can I handle? That’s the question I keep asking myself.”

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In XXL‘s final issue of 2015, Kendrick Lamar has written a candid piece that discusses everything from police brutality to racism to success. As the Compton artist closes out a spectacular year, including the 11 Grammy nominations he received just over a week ago, his second written piece for the iconic publication provides insight to his formative years as well as his recent ones. Examining the response to his highly acclaimed album, To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick takes an introspective look at how he defines success and how this has affected his frame of mind. He also opens up about a childhood memory when he was 16 years old, when the police stormed his house and dragged him out in handcuffs. You can read a select excerpt from his essay below, and can also watch the behind-the-scenes video from the cover shoot. The full article can be found in XXL when the issue is released on December 22 but in the meantime, you can read more here.

I know I’m chosen. I know I’m a favorite. I know in my heart there’s a whole other energy and leadership side of me that I have probably run from my whole life. How much power do I want? How much can I handle? That’s the question I keep asking myself. ’Cause when you are a voice for the youth, nothing can stop you. The youth is what changes things. Can I lead that? Should I? I get confused because people are championing me to be that vocal point and it’s a challenge for me to be that because I have some fear of that type of power. This goes back to me being who I naturally am or who think that I am now, that 28-year-old kid that’s kind’ve a recluse. But 28 is old enough for me to figure out who I am and have that power at the same time, that’s the battle and it’s a trip.

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