As he was preparing for the release of his critically acclaimed “Section 80” album, Kendrick Lamar realized that he needed to make some changes. When the Compton rapper looked around his neighborhood and the people who live there, he saw misguided energy, people whose actions led to their downfall. Although he thinks everyone is ultimately responsible for their own actions, Lamar also feels the cause of the problems in his city is much deeper, something that’s been lingering.
This line of thought was also the inspiration for the song “Ignorance Is Bliss,” from his “Overly Dedicated” mixtape.
“It starts with the fathers, period,” Lamar says. “The change, it’s going to start with my generation, when we start having kids. I think the main reason is these kids growing up in the ’80s, they never had a father figure. I was the only one out of my homeboys in my neighborhood that had a pops in my life. He wasn’t perfect. He was still in the streets but he was always there to pull me back in whenever I bumped my head. Other kids didn’t have that, so they go out into the streets and their father figures are the big homies down the block. The only thing they can teach them is how to survive and to make money by any means, to do what they got to do to feed themselves. So, that’s how they react and when money’s involved violence is involved.”
Rather than keep the cycle moving, Lamar made the change. He also got rid of negative people in his circle. This action, which included ditching no-good males and females in his periphery, led to “Cut You Off,” another standout “Overly Dedicated” track.
“If you keep constantly hearing negativity, that’s all you’re going to be surrounded by, negativity,” he says. “That’s what you’re going to put out into the universe and it’s going to come back to you full circle. I just wanted to make a record about that instead of going out there and reacting on it. Those people, I had to cut off. When I did, my life changed completely. I started putting energy into what into what I really wanted to do and started focusing on it in a positive type of way and not thinking like, ‘Damn. This shit is not going to work’ or ‘I should give up because I’m tired of doing it.’ When I started putting positive energy around it and putting positive people around me to give me even more energy, it came back full circle. When I put energy into making a hit record or a dope mixtape, it’s not people around me saying, ‘Nah, shit’s not going to be tight.’ They give their opinion, but in a bright way. They’re not shooting it down because they’re haters inside. No. When I put these positive people around, I get positive shit back. That’s how the universe works.”
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