Kendrick Lamar has kept a relatively low profile for much of 2020. In the backdrop, fans have been patiently waiting for some new music from the emcee, who left off with his 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning album, DAMN. Emerging from his solitude, on Monday (October 19), Lamar joined Baby Keem, who is his protégé, on the cover of i-D magazine’s 40th anniversary issue where the two rappers discussed their respective creative processes and a handful of other topics.
While reflecting over the state of their careers, Keem pointed to his 2019 effort, Die for my Bitch, as his “breakthrough” moment, telling Lamar, “it really gave me a chance to play with my sounds and open up the lane to grow in confidence.”
K. Dot echoed his sentiments, responding, “I get it, that’s what will take me so long to do albums. He added, “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.”
He recalled feeling the uneasiness of a potential “sophomore jinx” when he dropped Good Kid M.A.A.D City.
“I was in a different space and already knew off the top I can’t make Good Kid M.A.A.D City Part Two,” Lamar recollected.” The second I’m making that, it’s corny bro. That takes the feeling away from the first. I need that m**f**ka to live in its own world. Then boom, To Pimp a Butterfly. Some people love it to death, some people hate it.”
Keem then asked K. Dot if he tries to surprise himself with each new project, to which the hip hop elder replied that he does.
“To Pimp a Butterfly did that for me,” he explained. “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?’”
Deeper into their conversation, Keem seemingly hinted that he and Kendrick both expected to have released new music by now. Unfortunately, their releases were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Keem saying, “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.”
As their conversation came to a close, K. Dot asked Keem for his personal opinion of pgLang given his involvement. Amid the wait for his next album, the Compton rapper unveiled his new venture with Dave Free in March. Much of the company’s dealings have been enshrouded in secrecy, even sparking speculation that Lamar had parted ways with Top Dawg Entertainment which he clarified was not the case earlier this month.
“I’ve seen pgLang before it was even an idea that came to fruition. It’s sticking to and believing in something, even when you don’t know how it will be created, and it starts out as just a small idea,” Keem said. “I believed in it, and I stuck to it and now everything is paying off. So I’ve seen it from when there was no idea, to now. So to me, pgLang represents loyalty and trust.”
Shortly after their interview was published, pgLang dropped a new commercial that featured Baby Keem with a brief appearance from Kendrick.
It awaits to be seen if a new K. Dot album will materialize this year but it appears something is definitely in the works. See the video clip below. Read the rest of their i-D interview here.
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)