Over the past 30 days, we've run a total of 40 news and feature stories on Kendrick Lamar and his highly-acclaimed new album, DAMN. From the producers who worked on the album to the Easter eggs in the "HUMBLE." video, to the message and meaning behind the 14-track LP, our writing staff has covered just about every possible journalistic angle on Kung Fu Kenny.
Last Friday, in between stories about Kendrick not listening to his albums after they're turned in for mastering and DAMN. becoming the highest-selling debut of 2017, DJBooth scribe Miguelito penned a think piece entitled, "Praise & Questions: How Kendrick & Chance Talk to God in Different Ways," which aimed to break down the very different ways the two biggest mainstream religious rappers display their faith.
To our surprise (and excitement), less than 12 hours after publishing Miguelito's article, Kendrick wrote us a letter, acknowledging that he had read the article and offering a complete explanation as to how he expresses God.
Rather than think piece his response to a think piece—Lord knows, we don't need another think piece—we asked Kendrick for his permission to print his full, unedited message below.
He said yes.
"Long time no talk. Congrats on the work. Honored to say I still enjoy the write-ups. Y'all accuracy lets me know this site has a deep respect for the culture. Much appreciated.
Your latest read is really interesting to me. I didn't expect anyone to catch it. How I express God. I went to a local church some time ago, and it appalled me that the same program was in practice. A program that I seen as a kid the few times I was in service. Praise, dance. Worship. (Which is beautiful.) Pastor spewing the idea of someone's season is approaching. The idea of hope. So on and so forth.
As a child, I always felt this Sermon had an emptiness about it. Kinda one-sided, in what I felt in my heart. Fast forward. After being heavily in my studies these past few years, I've finally figured out why I left those services feeling spiritually unsatisfied as a child. I discovered more truth. But simple truth. Our God is a loving God. Yes. He's a merciful God. Yes. But he's even more so a God of DISCIPLE. OBEDIENCE. A JEALOUS God. And for every conscious choice of sin, will be corrected through his discipline. Whether physical or mental. Direct or indirect. Through your sufferings, or someone that's close to [sic] ken. It will be corrected.
Hence the concept "The wages of sin is Death." It shall be corrected. As a community, we was taught to pray for our mishaps, and he'll forgive you. Yes, this is true. But he will also reprimand us as well. As a child, I can't recall hearing this in service. Maybe leaders of the church knew it will run off churchgoers? No one wants to hear about karma from the decisions they make. It's a hard truth. We want to hear about hope, salvation, and redemption. Though his son died for our sins, our free will to make whatever choice we want, still allows him to judge us.
So in conclusion, I feel it's my calling to share the joy of God, but with exclamation, more so, the FEAR OF GOD. The balance. Knowing the power in what he can build, and also what he can destroy. At any given moment.
I love when artists sing about what makes Him happy. My balance is to tell you what will make Him extinguish you. Personally, once that idea of real fear registered in my mind, it made me try harder at choosing my battles wisely. Which will forever be tough, because I'm still of flesh. I wanna spread this truth to my listeners. It's a journey, but it will be my key to the Kingdom. And theirs as well. I briefly touched on it in this album, but when he tells me to react, I will take deeper action.
So thank you for your great work. It inspired me to reply with this long ass message. Hopefully, you'll take the time to read mines like I do yours."