The Greatest Rapper Alive On Rappers With Ghostwriters, Drake, Trump, Early Mixtapes, Jay-Z, and more

Kendrick Lamar covers the latest issue of Rolling Stone. In the magazine’s “The Greatest Rapper Ever” cover story, Kendrick Lamar takes aim at rappers with ghostwriters and more.

During an in-depth interview, Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt asked Kendrick Lamar if it’s okay for rappers to have ghostwriters, he responded saying: “It depends on what arena you’re putting yourself in. I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter. If you’re saying you’re a different type of artist and you don’t really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won’t be there.

While many will take that as a jab at Drake for all of the ghostwriting accusations as of late, Kendrick Lamar also had positive things to say about the Canadian rapper. Rolling Stone asked Kendrick Lamar what his favorite Drake song is and he responded: “I got a lot of favorite Drake songs. Can’t name one off the back,” continuing “he has plenty.” He also stated that he likes to hear Drake both sing and rap.

But Kendrick Lamar also said this while discussing number ones….

You have a Number One record, which means, on some level, you’re a pop artist.
It gets tricky because you can have that one big record, but you can still have that integrity at the same time. Not many can do it … wink-wink [laughs]. Still have them raps going crazy on that album and have a Number One record, wink-wink. Call it whatever you want to call it. As long as the artist remains true to the craft of hip-hop and the culture of it, it is what it is.

Wink-wink…I think he dissed Drake.

Kendrick Lamar also touched on Donald Trump:

Other than a few lyrics, you’ve been quiet about Donald Trump. Why?

I mean, it’s like beating a dead horse. We already know what it is. Are we gonna keep talking about it or are we gonna take action? You just get to a point where you’re tired of talking about it. It weighs you down and it drains your energy when you’re speaking about something or someone that’s completely ridiculous. So, on and off the album, I took it upon myself to take action in my own community. On the record, I made an action to not speak about what’s going on in the world or the places they put us in. Speak on self; reflection of self first. That’s where the initial change will start from.

The Compton, California rapper also opened up about sounding like Jay-Z on his early mixtapes, finding his style, and changing his name from K-Dot to Kendrick Lamar:

On your earliest mixtape, from when you were 16, there are points where you sound just like Jay-Z.

Oh, yeah. That was my guy. Still is. I’m still a fan. That was just a page I took out of his book, to be able to carry a lyric through conversation and make it feel like I’m sitting right here talking to you.

When did you truly find your own style?

I think it was the day I said I was gonna go by my real name, Kendrick Lamar.

Instead of K-Dot?

Yeah. And really just tell my story. Once I did that, it was easier for me to find my own voice, because nobody can tell my story the way I tell it.

kendrick lamar rolling stone

Stay tuned for more from Kendrick Lamar and make sure to peep the full Rolling Stone article. He also discusses working with Bono of U2, his DAMN album, going number one, and much more.