Not every star embraces being a role model -- even if it's a position they've been thrust into as public figures. But Kendrick Lamar has no gripes about millions of kids looking to him, his actions and his music.
"I feel great," Kendrick told The Fader, when asked about being viewed as a "messiah figure within hip-hop" and the general reaction to To Pimp A Butterfly. "The type of concepts that I had in the album are actually real, and one of the biggest ones is the fear of having this sort of power, or knowing your place as a role model. That’s real life for me. That’s a struggle every day because things that you say are now in the lives of these young kids that’s listening to you. That’s just something that I still face. I’m starting to be more receptive to it."
And part of what's been crucial in the process of him accepting himself as a role model has been thinking back to when he was younger, and how he looked at his favorite rap stars.
"I thought about that," he said, when he was specifically asked about the way Ice Cube and N.W.A railed against being viewed as role models. "When I looked at Dr. Dre, when I looked at Snoop Dogg. Whether they said it or not, to me, they were role models. Looking at them on TV and them coming from the same neighborhood I come from, I knew in my heart that these were the folks I wanted to be like. So I take that same consideration, in the space I’m in right now."
Earlier this year, during an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Dot similarly explained the importance of his position.
“It means everything to me because I know a lot of kids in my neighborhood [are] watching TV and saying, ‘You know what? I want to be a positive influence just like Kendrick Lamar,' or whoever’s out there doing something for the good of the culture and for music,” he said.