Miguel, Kendrick Lamar Cover Vibe’s 2013 Big List Issue, Reveal Who Keeps Them on Their Toes
Hot up-and-comers Miguel and Kendrick Lamar are the new breed, so they share the cover of Vibe’s Big List 2013 issue and inside, they reveal which artists keep ‘em on their toes and how they’d like to be the next R. Kelly and Jay-Z, respectively. Big words, yes, but this is the Big List issue.
Since each artist is working on changing the game in his respective genre — Miguel with R&B, Lamar with hip-hop — the cover nod is hard-earned and well-deserved for both. The accompanying interview is a bit of a love fest between the two acts.
The duo have mad love for each other, with Lamar admitting that ‘How Many Drinks’ is the bomb track on Miguel’s ‘Kaleidoscope’ –he’ll be appearing on the remix — while Miguel is feeling ‘Money Trees’ on Lamar’s debut ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city.’
Yes, they gushed over one another’s talents in their joint interview, with Miguel espousing Lamar’s “honest perspective” and the fact that what he’s saying translates from the verse to real life. He said, “Sometimes you listen to MCs and you’re like, ‘This s— sounds cool,’ the verse and the cadence or whatever. But when you look at the artist, it just doesn’t translate. I don’t get that from Kendrick. Younger artists, we’re all striving to be ourselves. He’s one of the best examples of that.”
Lamar feels that Miguel is R&B’s missing link, saying, “You’re hearing the steps to get there. And that’s the part of R&B that’s been missing for a long time. To actually hear somebody new doing it and taking pride in such intricate details that make the song that much better, it makes you wanna ride to it all day.
“I come from that world of oldies and gangster rap. My pops probably played more R&B and vocalists in the house than gangster rap, so I always listened for lyrics and the s— that make the women feel good. Once they like it, you know the dudes gon’ follow it right after, so you gotta be up on your s—.”
Aside from celebrating each other’s work and flow, both performers revealed who keeps them honest and on their toes, pushing them to bring it that much harder. For Lamar, it’s two rappers. “My partner J. Cole is always keeping it to the point where you have to show and prove. My partner Drake kills it,” he said.
Sadly, Miguel pointed out that kinda bro-downery doesn’t exist in his world and he can’t figure out why. “I wish I could be like ‘my partner’ or ‘my homie,’ but it’s not really like that. You could have a 2 Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and A$AP Rocky record; they’re all different, but they’re new and dope. You can have that and everyone’s confident in their own uniqueness and appeal. I hope we can do that.”
Miguel stays ahead of the game by becoming a master of the art of observation. “In R&B, I have to pay attention to every male artist,” he confessed. “Usher is a friend. Vocally there’s no one f—ing with Usher right now in mainstream R&B. I’m always paying attention to his riffs, ’cause he’s always pushing himself. I’ve never heard Usher do one take of vocals the same. He’s insane. Obviously I’m paying attention to Frank [Ocean] or the Weeknd. Jesse Boykins, who is a friend as well, is another artist who’s doing something different, fresh and new.”
Ultimately, the twosome have very similar goals for their respective careers.
“Kendrick is poised to be the next staple in hip-hop and I certainly intend on becoming that for R&B, working my ass off and taking risks,” Miguel said.
Lamar wants the same. “The biggest goal is to say, ‘Damn, we did it,’” he asserted. “Think about Jay-Z and R. Kelly and everything they accomplished. I don’t know if they’re on talking terms now, but I’m sure they’d say, ‘Damn, we did it,’ 20 years down the line. That’s the ultimate high—to accomplish what you sought after, just like those two did.”