Kendrick Lamar is easily the hottest MC in the Hip-Hop game right now. Mainstream media is taking note of the Compton rapper’s talents, and he recently sat down for a candid Q&A with GQ magazine. Kendrick talked everything from those dominoes in good kid/m.A.A.d. city’s narrative, dealing with the pressures of working with Dr. Dre, going toe to toe with Jay-Z and Rakim to getting Rihanna to play “Sherane.”
According to the former K. Dot, he felt pressure to represent for his coast as soon as he starting rapping. “From the moment I started writing raps, I was always aware of the pressure,” Lamar told GQ. “I always wanted to live up to how huge Snoop got, how huge Dre got, how huge Pac got. I was always aware. But by the time I got [the pressure], it was a whole new story. When you get that attention, you really have to execute. That pressure turned into a little bit more excitement, a little more dedication in the studio.”
Not only did Kendrick handle that pressure with aplomb, he gained an official co-sign from the aforementioned Dr. Dre. Just as you might have expected from someone named the world’s highest paid musician by Forbes, some of Dre’s advice to the upstart was financial, too. “He told me all the mistakes I shouldn’t make in this business, being a new artist. I’m in a position where a lot of dollars will be thrown my way, and it’s up to me to maintain,” said Lamar. “One of the first things he told me was that anybody ‘can get a mansion.’ He said, ‘You can get it. It’s nothing to get. You can get it tomorrow. The best thing to do is maintain it—that’s the hardest thing. Keeping it.'”
Interestingly, when asked who he would love to go toe-to-toe with lyrically, he said Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, Rakim and Kurupt. “I’m on their toes, for sure,” he added. “I remember when I was a young buck listening to them, I was thirteen or fourteen going back to the albums and how crazy they were. They just have a little more experience than me. I wouldn’t get in the studio with them and be nervous, I’ll put it to you that way. I wouldn’t be nervous
Read the full GQ&A with Kendrick Lamar right here. In the same issue, Frank Ocean, Russell Westbrook, A$AP Rocky, Yasiin Bey and Jay-Z were included in the 25 Most Stylish Men of 2012. Check out pics from the photo shoot in the gallery.