Kendrick Lamar pens his own XXL cover story

What a year it’s been for Kendrick Lamar. From the release of the critically acclaimed and culturally significant To Pimp a Butterflyto further establishing himself as the poster-boy for social change, 2015 has been a stellar year for the 28 year old Compton native.

The rapper has now been given his own annual outlet for hip-hop publication XXL, penning his own cover story for the winter edition of the magazine; recounting a year of success, and the struggles of coming to grips with his new found presence in the spotlight. Kendrick particularly reveals his surprise at the level of interest that his latest album generated, particularly amongst younger generations.

When I made To Pimp a Butterfly, I thought it would only live in a place where people like age 30 and up would respect it but there’s actually 15 year olds that know what’s going on in the album and can reflect on it outside their bedroom window. That’s the initial start for sparking the idea for change right there, because it always starts with the youth.”

Kendrick also details his internal battle as he attempts to remind himself that he is no longer just “a kid from Compton.”

I talk about that on the song “Mortal Man” on To Pimp a Butterfly — about being almost intimidated to accept or to acknowledge your leadership, that’s the mortal man. That’s me. Knowing that responsibility and knowing that I just may be one of the chosen ones, is part of the battle and one of my biggest conflicts now. To be that person…I’m just a kid from Compton, man.”

It’s a humanising and introspective insight into the mind of the greatest rapper in the game right now; to understand his struggle to accept his swift identification as a cultural icon, particularly at such a polarising period of racial injustice and social upheaval. One has to think that Kendrick Lamar will only continue to grow and embrace in his new role, and continue to deliver stellar music into 2016 and beyond.