Kendrick Lamar Reveals Baby Keem Stole His Favorite Beat, Talks pgLang Venture & More in New Interview

Kendrick gets Keem to open up about his origin story and hints at what’s next for the rising rapper.

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Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar shared the latest cover of i-D together. In honor of the occasion, Dave Free and his mysterious new creative service company pgLang have released their second video, “Propaganda” which highlights Keem’s meteoric rise over the past year with some handheld video footage and a quick preview of new music.

The duo’s i-D spread features the two rappers in a lengthy conversation spanning their respective career origins to the pressure to follow up critically-acclaimed projects with something surprising and unexpected. Keem’s debut mixtape Die for my B*tch dropped in July 2019 and marked his arrival as one of hip-hop’s brightest rising stars. Kendrick revealed that he too was under some pressure following the release of his major label debut Good Kid M.A.A.D City.

“I remember the sophomore jinx of Good Kid M.A.A.D City; it was for that year and for that time. I was in a different space in my life. I already knew off the top I can’t make Good Kid M.A.A.D City Part Two. The second I’m making that, it’s corny bro. That takes the feeling away from the first. I need that muhf*cka to live in its own world. Then boom, To Pimp a Butterfly. Some people love it to death, some people hate it,” Kendrick said. When Baby Keem asked about whether Kendrick wanted to surprise himself with a new project, the rapper replied, “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?’”

Kendrick also dropped a rare gem about why he takes “so long” to release each of is albums. “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.” Keem then talked about how the coronavirus pandemic has changed not only his musical output but his outlook. “I did the mini tour before all this going on, seeing how many people actually care about the music. It was tight seeing that and taking that home. I’m just grateful I got to experience that, because without that I don’t know where I would be right now. You were supposed to be out, I was supposed to be out. I’ve had a year to sit down and just think about the next experience.” While Baby Keem’s follow-up to Die for my B*tch has since been delayed because of COVID-19, the young artist did release two new singles back in September, “hooligan” and “sons & critics.”

But perhaps the most revealing portion of i-D‘s interview session was when Kendrick revealed that Baby Keem had “stolen” one of his favorite beats created by DJ Dahi. “You have a song and it probably is going to be up on your next project and it’s probably one of my favorite songs that you did,” Kendrick said. “I’m constantly playing it over and over and over like ‘Damn, this sh*t hard! Who did the production on this motherf*cker?’ And this n*gga like ‘Bro that’s your beat.’ I go on my drive and I’m looking through my list of my DJ Dahi beats and there’s one that’s marked. And I check mine cuz I don’t usually mark my sh*t and it was red… And I look and that’s the same exact beat that I love. But from that moment right there, I knew that you had an ear… The fact that you grabbed that beat, and did something that I wouldn’t ever have done on it, you made it a better song than what I would have done. And that’s why I was like okay, this n*gga hard.”

While it’s been rumored that Baby Keem is Kendrick’s cousin, his conversation with Kendrick neither confirms nor denies this. Watch the full video above and head to i-D for the full interview.

In more music updates, revisit Black Thought’s latest solo project Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel.

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