DJ Kay Slay has a longstanding reputation and career in hip hop and in a recent interview, he admitted to undervaluing Kendrick Lamar.
He’s a legend in the game, so DJ Kay Slay will always have opinions about the evolution of hip hop. Recently, Kay Slay released his latest project Living Legend that features a slew of heavy-hitters including Queen Latifah, Bun B, Raekwon, AZ, Ghostface Killah, Dave East, A$AP Ferg, and Big K.R.I.T. Helping to promote the album, Slay visited Sway in the Morning to talk all things hip hop. At the end of his interview, he was asked, “What artist went beyond your expectations?” and he admitted to underestimating Kendrick Lamar.
The radio host said, “Now, okay. Whoever’s listening…this is some sh*t I goofed on. Back when Kendrick Lamar was K-Dot, I remember going out to the West Coast and me and Top Dawg, we real cool. Jay Rock was the key artist and every time Kendrick see me, he’d stop me. ‘You, Slay!'” He then mimicked Kendrick Lamar rapping. Eventually, Top Dawg asked Slay about helping with Kendrick’s career, but Slay turned him down because he believed the public wasn’t interested in hearing “lyrical artists right now.” Slay admitted that the “climate changed” and Kendrick Lamar went farther than he expected.
Elsewhere, Slay talked about what makes a rapper a legend. Sway said that some people believe a rap legend has to have a career that has at least spanned a decade. Slay didn’t adhere to those rules. “Technically, once you inspired enough people—an artist can come out in a year and he could get a fanbase where he making young kids wanna stop smoking weed, he making them might wanna read books a little more. He’s tellin’ him save money. If they actually following him and doing what he’s saying, or even if it’s a preacher that’s doing that or even if it’s a guy in the street who has a whole style…at the end of the day. People are gonna talk about you. You gonna be a legend.”
Watch DJ Kay Slay’s interview with Sway in the Morning below and check out what else he had to say about hip hop being the only genre that doesn’t pay homage to older generations.