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In a new Q&A with GQ, Kendrick Lamar acknowledges the pressure many contemporary LA rappers face to help restore relevance to the West Coast rap scene, but notes how that only helped fuel him to deliver in the studio. Now that he has proven himself and earned a gold debut under his belt, the 25-year-old talks about what’s next. Plus, Kendrick also answers which veteran emcees he thinks he can go toe-to-toe lyrically with.

GQ: I feel like rappers from LA have a bit of an inferiority complex. They have to represent the resurgence of West Coast hip-hop from the moment they get a little buzz. Did you feel that?

Kendrick Lamar: You know, it’s crazy. From the moment I started writing raps, I was always aware of the pressure. I always wanted to live up to how huge Snoop got, how huge Dre got, how huge Pac got. I was always aware. But by the time I got [the pressure], it was a whole new story. When you get that attention, you really have to execute. That pressure turned into a little bit more excitement, a little more dedication in the studio.

GQ: Who are the artists that you’d love to go toe-to-toe with, lyrically? 

Kendrick Lamar: Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, Rakim, Kurupt…

GQ: Right now, where do you think you stack up in that group?

Kendrick Lamar: I’m on their toes, for sure. I remember when I was a young buck listening to them, I was thirteen or fourteen going back to the albums and how crazy they were. They just have a little more experience than me. I wouldn’t get in the studio with them and be nervous, I’ll put it to you that way. I wouldn’t be nervous.

GQ: The album is out and praised. What’s next?

Kendrick Lamar: Visuals… When I call it a short film, I don’t just call it that for the sake of the album. So that’s a hint.

You can read the rest of the interview over at


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Kendrick Lamar Talks Pressure, Veterans and New Visuals  was originally published on