ATLANTA (AP) — When Kendrick Lamar submitted the initial version of his new album, "good kid, m.A.A.d city," the rapper planned on heading back to the studio to record more songs for it.
Dr. Dre thought otherwise for his protege.
"When I brought it back to him, he said, 'You know what, you're done,'" Lamar recalled in a phone interview Wednesday night. "'This is a classic for your generation and time, and we're going to put this out now.'"
It seems Dr. Dre made the right call.
Lamar made a splash with his major label release, debuting at No. 2 on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart this week behind Taylor Swift's million-seller "Red." Lamar's album sold 241,000 units and topped both the R&B/Hip-Hop and rap albums charts. The album also generated 2.8 million streams through Spotify, the second highest first-week output so far this year behind Mumford & Son's "Babel."
Not bad for the 25-year-old Lamar, a relatively new rapper who didn't have a big hit heading into his major label debut. His single, "Swimming Pools (Drank)," peaked at No. 14 on the R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart, and he scored major buzz with the release of last year's critically lauded independent album, "Section.80."
The Los Angeles-based rapper said he felt confident his album would produce solid numbers because of the strong fan base built through grass-roots efforts. He said his label, Top Dawg Entertainment, led the way, marketing his music through "word of mouth" and the Internet before Interscope Records stepped in.
"It was really just everybody catching up," he said. "I'm sure half of the industry probably thought an underground artist or a person with content and substance would probably not see numbers like that." He said his mentor, Dr. Dre, gave him the freedom to breathe artistically while recording the new album. He said his intent was to put together a cohesive record that maintained a flow from track to track instead of trying to produce hit singles.
Critics certainly felt he displayed that on the album, which earned raved reviews. On the songs, Lamar tells several stories that were intertwined through skits about his upbringing in Compton, the gritty city southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
"Songs are going to come, regardless," Lamar said. "Whether it's a radio joint or a hit record, it's going to come regardless. … My initial goal is to make an album the same way Tupac (Shakur) did, the same way Jay-Z did, the same way Big (Notorious B.I.G.) did. I'm taking it back to the essence of that."
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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