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If it sounded as if Kendrick Lamar took over this year's SXSW, it's because he did. According to the West Coast rapper, he played nine shows within four days of the festival.He headlined shows by Spotify, Spin, VICE and Mass Appeal and also came out for sets by Top Dawg Entertainment's Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and ScHoolboy Q.Kendrick Lamar originally planned to tour through SXSW until he started receiving "incredible offers we wanted to take advantage of," Dave Free, producer, DJ and Lamar's manager, says. Kendrick Lamar has been on the road since the release of his major-label debut, "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" (Top Dawg Entertainment/ Aftermath Entertainment/ Interscope Records) on October 22. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart on Nov. 10, 2012, and has sold 793,000 copies to date. "We [also] wanted to keep Kendrick in front of his underground fan base, which is at SXSW," Free continues. "You want to keep the artist connected with the base that understands him and cares. [The] commercial base is cool but we just crossed-over, we don't want to leave the people that have rocked with us behind."“I wanted to let the fans that have been with me since day one know that I still appreciate them as much as they appreciate me,” Kendrick Lamar says. “I want to show them that I'm not different than who I am on record. I'm still that guy.”Lamar and Free decided to collaborate with outlets at SXSW that have supported the rapper from the start of his career and helped promote his debut album. Whether on or stage, Kendrick Lamar was making headlines down at SXSW. On Wednesday night (March 13), Young Guru, audio engineer and DJ to Jay-Z, spun a remix of Kendrick Lamar's "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" song, “Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe,” which features Jay-Z at a SXSW BitTorrent showcase.“That wasn't supposed to happen. That song wasn't supposed to come out during SXSW.” Free says. “Somebody moved a little too fast. But that happens in the game when you get to [Kendrick's] level.”Soon thereafter, a DJ got a hold of the clean version of the mastered song and it made its way onto the Internet. Free had planned for Kendrick Lamar's latest single, “Poetic Justice,” to garner more buzz before releasing the “Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe” remix. “It wasn't supposed to leak but everything worked out in our favor,” the rapper said. “It got a great reaction at the end of the day.” With the original jumping from No. 37 to No. 34 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and re-entering Rap Songs at No. 25 this week, the rapper hopes to release a video for the Jay-Z assisted remix. “God willing, we'll find a great opportunity to make a video out of it,” he says.What's the downside to performing back-to-back shows, besides catching a bug? Kendrick Lamar wasn't able to "enjoy the festivities" and catch acts he had hoped to such as Action Bronson, Danny Brown, and Joey Bada$$. But the rapper did get to connect with James Blake at the singer's "Overgrown" (April 9, Republic Records) listening session at the W Hotel on Friday (March 15)."I was supposed to work with him on the first album but didn't end up doing so because of a conflict in scheduling,” Lamar says. “He has some the best music I've heard. I've been a big fan of his. It's inevitable for us to work together, now it's [about] mapping out quality time to make the best music.”Kendrick Lamar doesn't plan to slow down anytime soon. He'll embark on Spring 2013 tour with Steve Aiko titled, “Karmaloop Presents Verge Campus.” The tour kicks off on April 4 in Fourt Lauderdale. Once the Verge Campus tour ends, Kendrick Lamar will embark on yet another tour in the Summer, this time his own, the “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” tour.Although not working on his sophomore album as of yet, Lamar is more than willing and excited to jump into the studio to collaborate with ScHoolboy Q's major-label debut, “Oxymoron” (Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope Records). "I'm just doing music, whether it's for my boy ScHooboy Q's next album or just catching the vibe," he says. “Oxymoron” has a tentative date of Summer 2013, according to Free. Aside from music, Kendrick Lamar, plans to delve further into directing. He recently directed the music videos for “Backseat Freestyle” and Drake-assisted, “Poetic Justice.” "I'm a creator. I may dabble into that [film], design. It's important to keep the creative juices going and not stay stagnant," he says.“We're exploring four feature films. TDE will, at the end of the day, do film, [be] a record label,” Free says. “This is a takeover, we want to be known for everything and we want to motivate people while doing so.”
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