“Kendrick is wise, he’s like an old Buddha or Yoda Junior,” offers Dave Free, an accomplished producer, longtime friend, and the current general manager of Lamar’s label, Top Dawg Entertainment. “He’s always been this way.”
He has feuded with Drake, provoked rappers on both sides of the country and picked a fight with Phil Jackson. But this 26-year-old “good kid” from Compton has been embraced by the music industry with no fewer than seven nominations.
“I thought I’d want jewelry and cars, but as soon as I got a taste, I realized it wasn’t fulfillment,” says Lamar.
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A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.