Kendrick Lamar shares his experience of visiting Nelson Mandela’s cell in South Africa

A new podcast launched last year by Spotify called ‘The Big Hit Show’ focuses on Kendrick Lamar’s magnum opus album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly in their latest season. The first episode titled ‘Hello Kendrick’ discusses Kendrick facing the challenge of sophomore jinx in hip-hop as his major-label debut ‘good kid maad city’ was a commercial success and the need to release a much different album resulted in a groundbreaking record.

In the second episode which was released earlier today, Kendrick sat down to reflect on his visit to South Africa in 2014 which will influence his next year’s effort both musically and spiritually. In the podcast, Kendrick’s friend Dave Free who set up the South African tour for him says he was scared for Kendrick. but later Kendrick called him and shared his experience “he called me one night, he was like, “Bro, I just went through a village.” He’s like, “Dog, I took my shirt off. I took my shirt off and I was just with the people.” He was like, “They were just hugging me, they was just hugging me. And they was just loving me.” And he’s like, “I never felt love like that. I never felt that much love in one place. Just love, like the energy of that.

Kendrick’s longtime producer Sounwave remembered Kendrick’s call saying how he felt visiting the late president and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela’s cell in Robben Island. Later Kendrick himself talked about the experience

I remember going inside that cell and you know the way I felt and how humble I was. You know that this man that was fighting for equality served 27 years, 18 years in that small little cell but still kept his mental capacity and still kept his integrity and his enthusiasm to motivate not only himself but the people around him. It inspired me a hundred percent. I kind of took that experience and looked within myself for my own experiences. Okay, I come from a background of uh neighborhood that wasn’t so much perceived to be great but I can’t let these four corners define who I am or define who my homeboys are. You know so I took that experience man and the whole concept about To Pimp A Butterfly was to share that experience with them. To go back to Compton and to tell them what I’ve learned…It was me explaining my experiences and what emotions it brought up from that experience. And tell them yo it’s something bigger than Compton and where we from.

Few months before his visit to South Africa, Kendrick Lamar urged his fans to research a small piece on  Mandela’s life. The whole experience effect on Kendrick can be heard in the final track ‘Mortal Man’ of ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ where he raps “The ghost of Mandela, hope my flows stay propellin’/Let these words be your Earth and moon, you consume every message

Listen to the full podcast below:


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