Kendrick Lamar on coping with fame: “I just remove myself”

The rapper said he only uses attention "when I want to communicate something"

Kendrick Lamar has discussed coping with fame and staying off social media in a rare new interview.

The rapper, who is currently on a world tour behind his new album ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers’, has spoken to Citizen Magazine for a new cover feature.

In a snippet of the full interview, which will be released soon, Lamar discussed why he doesn’t feel natural with being a famous person, and needs to take big chunks of time out of the spotlight between albums and tours.

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“I’m so invested in who I am outside of being famous, sometimes that’s all I know,” he said. “I’ve always been a person that really didn’t dive too headfirst into wanting and needing attention. I mean, we all love attention, but for me, I don’t necessarily adore it. I use it when I want to communicate something.”

He added: “The person that people see now is the person that I’ve always been. For me, the privacy thing has never been an issue that I had to carry out with full intention. It’s just who I am. If I feel I have to remove myself, I just remove myself. I won’t complain about it. I won’t cause a big blow-up or a big stir and let the world know that the walls are closing in.”

Kendrick Lamar performing live on-stage in 2022
Kendrick Lamar performs live. CREDIT: Getty

Despite this, he admits that different stars deal with being famous in different ways, and that he would never “point the finger” at those who handle it differently to him. “Some people grow different and it takes time especially…when who they are and who they want to be sometimes gets distorted,” he said. “For me, it’s all about being aware of how I’m feeling. If it is too much, let me remove myself for a couple of years.”

Of his lack of social media presence, Lamar added that he doesn’t “really know how to use it like that to be 100 percent real with you” but he “got good sentiments on what’s going on” from family and friends.

Last week, Lamar gave a shout-out to a young fan who attended his recent show in Detroit, later penning a heartfelt letter with words of encouragement. Footage of the interaction during the concert — which took place at Little Caesars Arena on August 14 — has made the rounds on social media, and captures the moment Lamar first notices the audience member, who was holding a sign which read: “My name is Kendrick. This is my [first] concert. Can we take a pic.”

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In response to the sign, written by the fan believed to be nine-years-old, the rapper took a few moments to shout out the younger Kendrick, reminding him to thank his parents before encouraging him to be a dreamer. “[Your parents] brung you to your first concert. Always respect and honour them,” Lamar said.

“You will forever be great. You’re great right now. You can do whatever you wanna put your mind to, you know it? You understand that? … Little Kendrick, do what you wanna do in life.”

The heartfelt exchange comes weeks after a similarly emotional moment at a separate Lamar show in Houston, during which a security guard was brought to tears by the rapper’s performance of the ‘DAMN.’ song, ‘Love’. In response to the clip, which promptly went viral in July, Lamar said that “at the end of the day, that’s how you want everyone to receive your music”.

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