“i” comes from going overseas, going to New York, being in L.A. and hearing kids saying, “Kendrick, I was gonna kill myself last week. Section.80, good kid, m.A.A.d city saved my life.” Or “I was gonna kill myself tonight until I came to your show.”
I think one of my biggest battles within myself is embracing leadership. You always grow up and you hate the term “role model.” You would say, “I don’t wanna be a role model. I don’t want none of that.” But in actuality, you are the biggest role model. It’s impossible to fight the title of role model. Especially when the type of music I make is so personal. People feel like they can relate to me or that they are me. They feel like they know my whole life story even though we from different worlds. So when I go out and meet them in public, I don’t get a response like, “Kendrick, will you sign this real quick?” Or, “I wanna just take this picture with you.” No, they want to have full conversations. I find out that they live their lives by my music and that right there is something.
These the people that live their lives in dark spaces, every day , you know, and they use my music as some sort of tool to keep going, almost like a Bible, you know? These kids feel like they got nothing to believe in but they see me and say, “Kendrick, I believe in you. I believe in your music.