Kendrick Lamar, who is in New York preparing for this weekend’s Saturday Night Live appearance, stopped by Hot 97 to speak about a variety of topics, including his upcoming album and the project’s first single, “i.”

“It’s for two people,” K. Dot says about his first single off this effort. “I wrote a record for the homies that’s in the penitentiary right now. I also wrote a record for these kids that come to my shows with slashes on their wrists saying they don’t want to live no more.”

The message behind “i” might be a sign of what’s to come from the Top Dawg MC’s project, which is tentatively set to feature production from Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams and Soundwave, among others.

“Music is life,” Lamar explains, when discussing the void he’s trying to fill in music today. “The things that we say on record, it goes out into the street and the kids believe this stuff, man. The kids believe it. It ain’t all entertainment at the end of the day. It sells music, but at the same time, you affecting somebody. I hated the word ‘role model.’ But you can’t run from it.”



Don’t expect Kendrick Lamar to make too many songs where he’s just rhyming about how “slick” he is on the upcoming album, either.

“I could sit up here and talk slick all day on record, but who’s gonna relate to it at the end of the day when they gotta go back to this crazy world and feel like they don’t love themselves enough to stay humble and not commit suicide?” he says. “Who gonna make them records? Nobody. I don’t see it. I don’t hear it. So, me being who I am and not being so much fearful of what the world think or what the industry standards is, I’m gonna do it the way I wanna do it, the way I’ve been doing it, regardless.”

Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city follow up does not have a title, but it is set to feature a more “raw” sound thanks to its live instrumentation, according to K. Dot. The album doesn’t have a release date either, but Kendrick says it will be out before Summer 2015.

Watch the interview to hear Kendrick Lamar say he didn’t “smash” Lady Gaga and you can also watch him explain how he felt about Macklemore publishing their text message conversation on Instagram. In the interview, K. Dot also explains why he would love to go on tour with Imagine Dragons. After you watch the interview, whet your appetite for some more Kendrick music by checking out his best guest appearances and seeing what HBO music supervisor Scott Vener had to say about “King Kunta,” a new K. Dot song that’s yet to be released.