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Dr. Dre Calls Kendrick Lamar Hip-Hop’s “Forever Artist” On ‘Hart To Heart’

Kendrick Lamar has long been regarded as part of the “big three” in Hip-Hop alongside Drake and J. Cole. Dr. Dre recently spoke on the Compton rapper’s greatness and called him a “forever artist,” in addition to discussing why he never worked with Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder and the continued discourse around the current state of Hip-Hop.

The 58-year-old superproducer sat down with Kevin Hart for an episode of Peacock’s Hart To Heart and was asked about his favorite music. Dre revealed he listens to all types of music and at any time you can find him listening to ’70s soul, rock, or polka. “I get inspiration from all types of music,” he told the comedian. “I don’t necessarily have a favorite. I have a favorite of the week.”

The Soul Plane actor then transitioned the conversation to K. Dot and expressed how he is a fan of the Pulitzer Prize winner’s body of work. He attempted to give the “Still D.R.E” rapper credit for what Lamar has become, given the fact they worked together early on in his career. Dre admitted that he can’t take credit for that, but used the opportunity to wax poetic about the “Humble” rapper.

“Kendrick Lamar is a real motherf**kin’ artist,” Dr. Dre said. “Like, the true definition of the word, you know? The only thing I can take credit for is opening the door for him because he’s done everything his self. Him and Dave Free.” When asked about their relationship, the seven-time GRAMMY winner said it is fantastic.

Hart then went into the progression of Kendrick’s career, from the BET cyphers to his 2017 album DAMN. to how much his craft has evolved and his highly praised tours. Dr. Dre added “No, he’s the f**kin’ man. He’s amazing man. Kendrick is one of those artists that we call ‘forever artists.’” Hart asked for an explanation of what a “forever artist is” to which Dre replied “He could disappear for f**ckin’ five years or something like that and come back and f**k our heads up, you know?”

Dr. Dre continued and contrasted K. Dot to other acts. “Some artists feel like ‘I have to do something all the time so I won’t be forgotten.’ That’s not him. He can disappear and come back with something that’s shocking. That’s amazing and everybody’s gonna tune in and listen.” This was in reference to Kendrick’s latest album, 2022’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, which closed off a five-year hiatus since his 2017 album DAMN., was critically acclaimed, and nearly swept the Rap category at the GRAMMYs in February.

Hart asked for other examples of “forever artists” and Dr. Dre thought for a bit before saying Snoop Dogg and Eminem. He clarified that his answers were specifically people he had worked with and then Hart asked for some general examples. “That’s a really tough question to answer,” Dre said. “Because all of a sudden we’re talking about Michael [Jackson] and Prince. Of course, those are forever artists.”

In another part of the conversation, the father of 8 revealed why he turned down the opportunity to work with Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder on separate occasions. “They just asked me to work with them and I just was like, ‘What the fuck am I going to do with them?’” he told Hart. “Those are my fucking heroes.”

Even with Kevin reminding him that he is “Dr. Dre,” the West Coast legend went on to inform him he didn’t want how he felt about Jackson, Prince, and Wonder to “change” by collaborating. “I like the idea of what I grew up listening to and I want to keep it like that,” Dre said. “And I don’t want to f**k up that idea and that look.” Beyond that, Dre asserted that he takes pride in working with newer artists who he can help mold, whereas Jackson, Prince, and Wonder already have their formulas and he would feel odd telling them to do something different. Check out the clip of Dr. Dre’s explanation below.

Kevin Hart also opened up a conversation about the climate of Hip-Hop today, specifically how artists from the past don’t support what the genre has become and young rappers feel like they don’t get enough love from the “oldheads.” They joked back and forth about who falls under the “oldhead” category before Dr. Dre dismissed anyone speaking negatively about the state of Hip-Hop.

“F**k that,” the 2001 rapper said. “Let me tell you something: Hip-Hop is what it is. Anybody that’s talking about the state of Hip-Hop right now and talking about it from a negative place sounds like somebody’s f**kin’ grandfather, you know what I’m saying?” Hart chimed in, saying “I love that.”

“This is just what it is. Hip-Hop is evolving,” Dre said, continuing his monologue. “If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it, you know what I’m saying? I’m keeping it all the way 100 with you. Some of this sh*t–most of this sh*t–I don’t like. I don’t listen to a lot of that sh*t, but I’m not hatin’ on it. I’m never gonna hate on it.”

Dr. Dre ended his point by speaking about the evolution of the genre and younger rappers using what is at their fingertips. While he acknowledged that he had to go out of his way to “buy motherf**kin’ keyboards” and “buy sounds from pawn shops,” he is not mad at how the new generation goes about creating their music. Check out the full conversation on Hart To Heart above.


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