Kendrick Lamar on Police Protests: ‘Don’t Start With Just a Rally… It Starts From Within’

Rapper calls for personal accountability and self-respect as a means of ending a vicious cycle.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

There’s little question that Kendrick Lamar is the most revered rapper in the game these days, with a storyteller’s style and cerebral lyrical focus delivering sermonic testimonials of life and culture. And while most reactions to the high-profile killings of black people in 2014 have been vocal (but peaceful) protest and/or a “fuck the police” nature, the Compton rhymespitter believes the solution lies within.

In a revealing new interview with Billboard, Kendrick was asked about the social upheaval in 2014, following the unpunished murders in Ferguson, Mo., to Staten Island. His response was hardly in line with other prominent figures weighing in.

“I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s fucked up,” he said. “What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”

Unfortunately for either sensibility’s sake or anyone with a five-year plan, Lamar also devoutly believes the world is about to end. He wasn’t raised devoutly religious, but sees the signs enough to be convinced. “We’re in the last days, man – I truly in my heart believe that. It’s written. I could go on with Biblical situations and things my grandma told me. But it’s about being at peace with myself and making good with the people around me.” 

Something we could all benefit from doing, whether or not the world is about to end. See where Kendrick ranks in our list of 50 Albums We Can’t Wait For in 2015.