This Sunday’s Grammy Awards are shaping up to be big for Kendrick Lamar, whether he naps a trophy for one of his seven nominations or not. The young emcee revealed to Hollywood Reporter that his Grammy collaboration with Imagine Dragons — a mash-up of Lamar’s "M.A.A.d City” with the rock band’s hit "Radioactive” — should be explosive.
Talk during rehearsals for the duet included “flying white chalk clouds, epileptic strobe lights, Molotov cocktails, cannons, a waterfall and an interactive police riot.” Dragons' frontman Dan Reynolds said: "In a perfect world, it would be like the Hunger Games and at the end, me and Kendrick would light on fire.” Lamar praised the band’s "energy and stage presence."
Lamar also opened up about his now-immortal verses on Big Sean’s "Control," in which he tells his rap game competition — J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electronica, Tyler The Creator and Mac Miller — “I’m tryna murder you.”
"It wasn't pre-meditated, it just came to me when I was writing that bar," Lamar said. "The crazy part is, I didn't think it would ever go to where diss records were coming at me. I thought people would be like…he threw some challenges out there…that was dope." Listen to Lamar’s entire “Control” contribution below.
Last year was also marked by Lamar’s coveted opening spot on Kanye West’s “Yeezus” tour, which he said was a learning experience. “Kanye taught me to never to downplay your ideas. I learned to always stay as creative as possible and never have any boundaries. Those things that people called ‘rants’ on-stage are real conversations that we had behind closed doors — about business and how when you get to a certain level people won’t want to see you break through because they only see you as a rapper,” Lamar said.
Regarding a follow-up to his breakthrough album “good kid, m.A.A.d City,” Lamar said he’s taking his time: “I’m still seeing what I feel like. When I really catch it, I’ll be out there with it.”