Kendrick Lamar has shown that he respected his Hip-Hop and musical forefathers, showing a humility and reverence to the legends that came before him. Fellow Compton icon Eazy-E of N.WA. fame was the latest artist K Dot paid tribute to in PAPER magazine.
Kendrick Lamar shared how he came to discover Eazy-E as a boy, and how the hometown hero came to influence his career. Lamar’s tribute is part of PAPER’s “Nowstalgia” issue, featuring current rap stars saluting rappers that gave them their spark.
What made Eazy special was that he was telling a different type of truth, a truth that wasn’t heard in music yet. Before them, rap was fun — you had your battles and whatnot, but this time around, when it came to what Eazy wanted to do, being a visionary, he had the idea of speaking the honest truth, and I think it really resonated with a lot of people because it was the shock value of, “Okay, these guys are really standing out and focused on telling their reality, no matter how pissed off you get by it.” And it got interest from people. People actually wanted to hear it and wanted to know what was going on.
But as a kid, I really couldn’t grasp the idea that the world knew about what we’re going through in my neighborhood. I didn’t get that idea until my debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, came out and that’s when I truly understood how N.W.A. felt, coming from this small neighborhood but going all the way around the world and seeing these people singing these words lyric-for-lyric and understanding the trials and tribulations that are going on in the community. I understand how they feel now. It’s an inspiring thing. Once I got the idea that people are actually listening, it made me want to continue making music more.
To read the Kendrick Lamar tribute to Eazy-E in full, follow this link.