Kendrick Lamar Responds to Geraldo Rivera: 'Hip-Hop Is Not the Problem, Our Reality Is'

Christopher Polk/BET/Getty Images for BET
Kendrick Lamar performs onstage during the 2015 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. 

"How can you take a song that's about hope and turn it into hatred?" asked Kendrick Lamar in a response to Geraldo Rivera's criticisms of his BET performance and hip-hop in general. "The overall message is 'We gonna be alright.' It's not the message of I want to kill people."

The Compton rapper spoke to TMZ Thursday after Rivera and other Fox News anchors slammed his powerful performance of "Alright" at the 2015 BET Awards

Geraldo Rivera on Fox News: Kendrick Lamar's BET Awards Performance Sends 'Exactly the Wrong Message'

"This is why I say that hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years. This is exactly the wrong message," Rivera said, specifically pointing to the "Alright" line: "And we hate po-po/ Wanna kill us dead in the street, fo sho."

But Lamar called this sort or rhetoric an attempt to delude the real problem: "the senseless acts of killings of these young boys out there."

"For the most part it's avoiding the truth," he said in the video interview. "This is reality, this is my world, this is what I talk about in my music. You can't delude that. Me being on a cop car, that's a performance piece after these senseless acts."

Kendrick Lamar Sees the World in Black-and-White in 'Alright' Video: Watch

Lamar continued, "Hip-hop is not the problem. Our reality is the problem of the situation. This is our music. This is us expressing ourselves. Rather [than] going out here and doing the murders myself, I want to express myself in a positive light the same way other artists are doing. Not going out in the streets, go in the booth and talking about the situation and hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it in a positive manner. Coming from these streets and coming from these neighborhoods, we’re taking our talents and putting ‘em inside the studio."

Watch the full interview here