Kendrick Lamar Talks Ferguson: 'What Happened Should've Never Happened'

As someone who grew up in Compton, Kendrick Lamar knows about tense exchanges with police officers. By his own reckoning, he was treated unjustly by the LAPD "plenty of times. All the time."

But in Billboard's latest cover story, Kendrick isn't going into details of any past trouble he may or may not have gotten into. "Oh, man, I won't be able to say that on record," Lamar tells Gavin Edwards. "I got into some things, but God willing, he had favoritism over me and my spirit."

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But he sees those who haven't been so fortunate. Speaking to the tragic deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Lamar points to the historical baggage between cops and African-American communities.

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"I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it's already a situation, mentally, where it's f--ked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should've never happened. Never. But when we don't have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don't start with just a rally, don't start from looting -- it starts from within."

Read the full Kendrick Lamar cover story on Friday, Jan. 9.