Who doesn’t love a good surprise? When Kendrick Lamar came to the MTV Newsroom for the “Hottest MCs in the Game VIII” special, which aired Thursday night on MTV Jams, he had no idea he had been crowned #1 by the MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust — hat is, until “RapFix Live” host Sway Calloway crashed the green room to break the news.
“Kendrick, I know you were told we were about to shoot ’RapFix’ today to sit down and do an interview, but that’s not necessarily the whole truth,” he told K-Dot in a moment that mirrored an episode of “Punk’d.”
“That’s craaaaaazy,” Lamar said in a low and raspy West Coast drawl when Sway revealed the real reason behind their chat.
On Thursday night, Lamar officially became King Kendrick after he beat out 2 Chainz for the #1 spot in a unanimous vote. The list, which also included Meek Mill, Future, A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, Big Sean, Drake, Rick Ross and Chainz, has been causing excitement in the hip-hop community since our #10 pick was revealed on MTV2’s “The Week in Jams” on Sunday. West, Drake, Big Sean and A$AP Rocky all reacted to the list — some more enthusiastically than others.
Yet on Thursday, there was no one more excited than Kendrick, whose gold-selling good kid, m.A.A.d city LP helped him rise above his hip-hop contemporaries. “You know what’s crazy, we were looking at the years of the different MCs, and we were always like, ’Man, we gotta get on there. We gotta at least get on the list.’ But to make it #1, that’s a whole ’nother thing,” he said immediately after he found out the news.
During the show, Dot gave Sway a one-on-one sit-down and spoke about what brought him to craft the story-driven good kid. “I would have to say this project probably been in the works [since] the moment I turned 13,” the now 25-year-old said of his critically acclaimed and commercially sound debut LP. “It wasn’t a six-month process; really a whole life experience. And that’s what really made this album: All my mistakes, all my thoughts, all my ideas of being a dreamer, all my homeboys’ faults, all the scoldings that my father used to give me. All that made up this album.”
The cinematic GKMC serves as a coming-of-age story complete with interstitial skits that help the drama-filled narrative progress. During the course of the 12-track LP, Kendrick finds love, gets a real taste of Los Angeles gang culture, loses a friend to gun violence and miraculously finds his way home.
Lamar contends that good kid, m.A.A.d city isn’t just about him; it’s also about his friends who weren’t so fortunate to make it out of Compton, California — particularly his buddy YG (not to be confused with the rapper YG). “A lot of people think this album is about me, but it’s about him. It’s about my other partners, L Boogs, Lucky [and] Yan Yan,” he said of the homeys who serve as characters throughout the album. “It’s about them. I seen the good in ’em. It’s just their situations. They weren’t blessed the way I was blessed.”