Tirsdag 12. februar spiller Kendrick Lamar på et forlengst utsolgt Sentrum Scene. Her er mitt intervju med forfatter og hiphophistoriker Jeff Chang, om hva hjembyen Compton betyr for Kendrick og hva Kendrick betyr for Compton.
Og sjekk ut Changs bok Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, en av de klart beste som er skrevet om hiphop.
ØH: What would you say are the major similarities and differences between Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. City and Dr. Dre’s The Chronic? Would you say they both represent a shift in American hip-hop?
JC: Kendrick shifts the paradigm from hedonism to spiritualism, from peer pressure to group healing, from violence to forgiveness. It’s really a startling move for Los Angeles rap because it reverses the classical gangsta themes to critique many of them. But even more importantly, it’s a major shift in pop music.
ØH: Why do some hip-hop albums from Compton seem to take on an almost immediate mythic stature in American hip-hop? I am thinking of Dre, Kendrick and N.W.A.. And how does The Game’s first albums fit into this, The Documentary and Doctor’s Advocate almost feel like concept albums about the hip-hop music from Compton.
JC: The mythos of Compton has been built from a series of incredible albums by artists from this small neighborhood of Los Angeles. I think N.W.A. set the template, but artists like DJ Quik and Compton’s Most Wanted built on it. The Game came with a second generation portrait of the area, and now Kendrick Lamar is building a third generation. Compton is a city that, like the Bronx or Detroit or New Orleans before it, is full of compelling stories and storytellers with the skills and art to tell them.
ØH: I know Compton mostly from listening to gangstarap? Have I grown up with a true portrait of the city? And how important is the musical portrayal of the city for its youth? Has Kendrick Lamar’s music and lyrics been formed by his predecessors?
JC: Great question. The Compton that exists now still struggles with many of the same issues that it struggled with decades ago, but the face of the city has changed. It is now predominantly Latino and immigrant. Their stories are being told as well, but not as often in English. I think we’ll be hearing a lot from Compton for years to come.