Emotional lyrics in the songs on his latest album are based on his own struggles and demons, rapper Kendrick Lamar revealed in an emotional interview with MTV.
In particular, Lamar talked about “u,” a haunting track off his 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly. In the song, Lamar raps, “I know your secrets… I know depression is restin’ on your heart for two reasons… And if this bottle could talk I cry myself to sleep / Bitch everything is your fault… Shoulda killed yo ass a long time ago / You shoulda feeled that black revolver blast a long time ago / And if those mirrors could talk it would say ‘you gotta go’ / And if I told your secrets / The world’ll know money can’t stop a suicidal weakness.”
In the new interview, Lamar revealed those emotional lyrics came from personal experience with depression and suicidal thoughts.
“I’ve pulled that song not only from previous experiences but I think my whole life, I think everything is drawn out of that,” he said. “Nothing was as vulnerable as that record. So it’s even pulling from those experiences of coming up in Compton. It’s pulling from the experience of going through change and accepting change — that’s the hardest thing for man, accepting change.”
Lamar also explained that seeing friends and family struggling back in Compton while he was recording or touring was especially trying.
“When I was on that tour bus and things is happening back home in my city or in my family that I can’t do nothing about, it’s out of my control, [and to] put it in God’s hands, I couldn’t understand that,” he explained. “That can draw a thin line between you having your sanity and you losing it. This is how artists deteriorate if you don’t catch yourself.”
The struggles his loved ones faced in Compton were deadly at times, and for Lamar, that led to survivor’s guilt.
“It’s real, man,” he said. “Three of my homeboys [one] summertime was murdered, close ones too, not just somebody that I hear about. These [are] people I grew up with. It all, psychologically, it messes your brain up. You live in this life, you know what I’m saying, but you still have to face realities of this. I gotta get back off that tour bus and go to these funerals… Talk to my mom and talk to their aunties — the kids that lost their lives.”
Watch Kendrick Lamar’s emotional MTV interview below: