Kendrick Lamar was recently profiled by Lauren Greenfield for the New York Times during his run on the Yeezus tour. Up top is a photo of him in his hotel suite in Vegas after a performance. You can read the entire piece here, which explores Kendrick dealing with his new fame and a personality that clashes with industry lifestyle. You can check out an excerpt on how the Yeezus tour came about below.
Backstage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, West personally approached Lamar about joining him on the road. “It’s a different kind of thrill when an actual artist asks you, when Kanye asks you,” Lamar said, pronouncing West’s first name the way he always does, with the emphasis on the last syllable, kahn-YAY. “Now I know he’s really interested in what I do.” Lamar said it was easy to make that happen after the chat, but his team remembered a lot of back and forth. “Believe it or not, we were actually trying not to do the tour,” says Terrence Henderson, better known as Punch, the president of Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s label. “We wanted Kendrick to be recording that whole time.”
It’s tempting to imagine that tour partnerships between an established star and an up-and-comer result in lots of communal bonding. And of course sometimes they do. Bono has become famous for taking young bands out on the road with U2 and dispensing his so-called Bono Talk, a sermon on how to avoid the pitfalls of fame. Lamar knew people wanted to think this was happening between him and West, and he obliged within reason, dutifully explaining to journalists how much he was learning from West or telling an employee of his label who asked if they had been hanging out, “We haven’t really got an off day yet to chill out, but that’s the plan.” But a mentor-mentee relationship wasn’t what was expected or desired, and it certainly was not what was happening.
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