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Kendrick Lamar and his trajectory into becoming one of the top Hip-Hop artists of his era elevated him to being seen as a cultural icon. The Compton lyricist covers the upcoming Forbes “30 Under 30” issue and offers in a Q&A interview insights on his creative process, his business acumen, and more with Zack O’Malley Greenburg from October’s “30 Under 30” summit.

Forbes writes:

ZOG: One of the things that’s happening in hip-hop is mumble rap … and then you have stuff like you’re putting out where it’s really important for people to understand what you’re saying. What kind of responsibility comes with that? With that mantle of being what many people consider to be the greatest rapper alive, the spokesman of hip-hop today?

KL: The responsibility … this is how I think is how you stay sane and stay focused in the essence of music, is to never forget the root where I come from, as far as hip-hop, and knowing my forefathers and the people that laid the groundwork for me to be here. I always keep that in the back of my mind. Never take it for advantage, and misuse it.

But also, at the same time I want to evolve. You know? I want hip-hop to continue to evolve. That’s why I can’t shun a lot of the artists that may not be a Kendrick Lamar. But this is what I tell them every time I see them … be yourself and do what you do but also know who laid down the groundwork. Don’t go on your interviews and dis them and say you don’t like them and you don’t care for them. That’s your opinion, that’s cool but you have to respect them. So talking down on the folks that inspired us to do this, it’d never be right. You dig what I’m saying? So at the end of the day as long as you be who you are but respect what got us here, that’s how you continue to evolve.

Check out the rest of the interview by following this link.

Photo: Forbes