A king knows when to go to war, and when to broker peace.
In a recent interview with Billboard magazine, Kendrick Lamar, the Gemini that he is, did both with one quote: "She's doing her thing," he says of Iggy Azalea. "Let her. People have to go through trials and tribulations to get where they at. Do your thing, continue to rock it, because obviously God wants you here."
It's unclear precisely at what point the interview took place, or what prompted the commentary (we'll have to read the full cover story once it drops today, Friday, Jan. 9) but recent months have seen Iggy step into the proverbial rap battle ring with Snoop Dogg (who went a lil' Uncle Ruckus on her), Azealia Banks (who plays her arch nemesis) and Q-Tip (who plays Pai Mei to her Uma Thurman-esque The Bride).
Mostly, Iggy has been silent. Until one day she started telling us a story about how she came to America at a young age, was accepted in the hood, had a "take two" when she called herself a runaway slave master (she apologized for it). She goes on to unapologetically dodge those pesky online politics (when Banks derided her for not tweeting about Eric Garner, Michael Brown...) other than the opportunity to give us a reminder that she has a vagina, of course.
She's declared herself the Aussie Elvis Presley.
It's no surprise, then, that this week she won Favorite Hip Hop Artist at the 2015 People's Choice Awards. Rap has been (wrongfully) telling us for years that hip hop favors the one who takes yo' b**h. Because of that, maybe she'll even win Best Rap Album at the Grammys next month (her debut, The New Classic, is up against Because the Internet, Nobody's Smiling, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Oxymoron, and Blacc Hollywood).
So while it's not clear when King Kendrick made these remarks, it doesn't much matter. If she does win Best Rap, it won't phase him. He's too immersed in creating his follow-up to his own debut, which, besides being critically acclaimed, was overlooked by the academy in 2014 for Macklemore's first album. "I appreciate [the Grammys] recognizing me," Lamar tells Billboard, but, "That's not my overall goal... It's best to just go and enjoy the festivities."
About Macklemore specifically, he adds, "He's a genuine dude ... I wish him much success."
That's what a king does. In hip hop, when a queen or a comrade feels attacked, he offers defense. But when it comes to rap, it's every [wo]man for self.
Check out what else K Dot has to say in his Billboard feature, titled "Kendrick's Next Act Is Not What You Think." His sophomore album is expected this year.
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(Photos from left: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images, Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File)