Kendrick Lamar aspired for greatness on his Section.80 album, describing it as an open letter to the millennial generation. He's gone even bigger on the follow-up, good kid, m.A.A.d city, delivering a "no compromises" narrative about inner-city life and struggles of a generation under the gun.
In other words, he's quickly established himself as a storyteller for these troubled times , which is why he's also paying close attention to the race for the White House — and hoping that both his community and his generation understand the power they possess when they head to the polls Tuesday.
"I think we tend to put [issues] in the hands of higher politics rather than do for ourselves," he told MTV News. "So what made me the most angry is, when something doesn't go right in that world, you get people out here that want to blame Obama. And I think that's corny.
"I think that's one of our biggest failures as a community, as a generation; not wanting to go out and do for ourselves and to sit back and wait," Lamar continued. "And then when it doesn't happen, we point the finger. I think we just really need to take matters into our own hands; uplift our community, put money back in our community, and show these kids how there's something different."
And to that end, though he's not trying to sway voters one way or the other, Lamar knows who he'll be voting for on Election Day. He practices what he preaches, and he sees his ballot as one small step toward helping both his neighborhood and his peers.
"I think I'm going to go ahead [and vote for Barack Obama], just because I cannot see Mitt Romney [winning]," he laughed. "I'll be on food stamps my whole life! I just don't feel like he's got a good heart at all."
With the election just days away, stick with MTV's Power of 12 throughout Tuesday's voting for results, analysis and reports from Chicago, New York and Boston on election night.