How 50 Cent Influenced Kendrick Lamar’s Understanding of Consciousness in Music

Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent differ significantly in their musical styles and thematic approaches. While Lamar is synonymous with intricate streams of consciousness, 50 Cent‘s earlier works were intertwined with themes of pop culture and violence. Despite these apparent disparities, Lamar credits the G-Unit founder for playing a pivotal role in redefining his understanding of the term “consciousness.”

In a recent interview with Nigerian singer Tems for Interview magazine, Kendrick Lamar engaged in a conversation about music and creativity. Reflecting on the early days of his career, Kendrick shares that he used to intensely “study” the music and interviews of the G-Unit mogul. During this time, 50 Cent dropped a significant piece of wisdom that has remained with him ever since.

“Now, I’ve always studied 50 Cent’s music and watched his interviews, and someone asked if he was a conscious artist,” he recalled. “He said, ‘Yeah, I’m a conscious artist because I have a conscience.” This response left a deep impression on Kendrick. He explained that while 50 Cent imparts various insights, this particular revelation provided him with a fresh perspective. 

“That shit blew me away. It gave me a different perspective — 50 drops a lot of jewels that give me perspective, but that one right there gave me a sense of, okay, a lot of artists live and know how to project duality.”


He added: “That’s the true gift, because that’s what life is about in its wholeness. When I seen that I said, ‘I can relate to that,’ and what you’re saying is confirmation that that’s still alive. It’s really dope to hear another artist say it. Lets us know we not crazy.”

Despite collaborating on only one track, “We Up,” released in 2013, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent have interacted on multiple occasions throughout the years. In 2013, 50 Cent expressed his admiration for Kendrick, acknowledging their contrasting artistic personas. 

“I love Kendrick,” he said. “Obviously there is a huge difference in the two of us, in our characters, and the way we present ourselves ’cause to me he possesses the ability to appear like he didn’t know this was going to happen. There’s a level of confidence required for you to withstand the level of doubt, and I had so much doubt prior to it actually working for me, that I would appear at points a little arrogant.

“Like, ‘I knew it was going to work, because it took you so long to figure it out. I told you it was hot.’ And Kendrick will give you that energy that’s like, ‘This is great. This is really happening.’ Every time I’m around him, that’s what it feels like.”

50 Cent also granted Kendrick Lamar his acting debut in 2018 on his STARZ show “Power,” where Kendrick briefly portrayed the role of a homeless drug dealer named Laces.

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