Me and my pulley system, with Kendrick Lamar

GLASTONBURY headliner Kendrick Lamar, the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize, talks us through his life, his work and his pulley system. 

You’ve been cited as the most influential rapper of the last decade. Is that a heavy responsibility? 

Yeah, so when I got paid for Good Kid M.A.A.D City, that’s when I started this motherfucker right here. Back in the day it was a one-floor system, simple clockwork and cantilevered weights, so you pull this lever right here and it’s winding you whatever you need from the kitchen like hot sauce, tacos, makings for a blunt, whatever.

Your third album, To Pimp A Butterfly, won a Grammy for best rap album but not album of the year. Many commentators felt this was an injustice. 

I hear that. So, bout this time, that’s when I upgraded my bad bitch here to cover two floors. Runs throughout the entire crib. You can send shit upstairs, if you upstairs you can send shit downstairs, works laterally and vertically, you know what I’m saying? A two-tier pulley system. Ain’t Drake or Jay or none of them got that.

Alright became the unifying soundtrack anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement, which must have been gratifying. 

Shit was dope. At this stage we’d passed beyond the clockwork. I’m not an engine driver, you know? I was blanking on which levers did what and one time I collided a bottle of purple drank – Future was over – with my old school Adidas and that shit was fucked up. That’s when I went electronic.

Critics saw Damn as a return to simpler hip hop after your jazz-influenced previous album. 

I guess. First out we went with a custom-made board. Switches and lights and shit, looked real fly like some old-school sci-fi movies. Like Alien up in here and shit. But when you adding to the system, a pulley going to the poolhouse and back, you got to get the goddamn soldering iron out. That sucks. I went all the way to computerised.

You were part of the first all-rap Superbowl Halftime Show, alongside Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Mary J Blige. Was that an important moment culturally? 

Sure. So once we computerised, we went four floors and outbuildings. Man, I shoulda done that earlier. Literally click an object, click a location and this pulley system will have it in your hands in less than a minute, no matter where you are on the property. It’s fresh and it’s vintage, you know? Steampunk flow. Biggest pulley system in the game, no doubt.

Finally, your new album Mr Morale & the Big Steppers is out. What do you hope audiences will take from this one? 

Seriously man, you ain’t ask about my pulley system even once. You know what? Fuck you. This is straight disrespect.

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