Everybody just wants to have fun, be with the scene,” Kendrick Lamar said when we met in his cramped quarters inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last fall. “Certain people get backstage, people that you would never expect. . . . You ain’t with the media! You ain’t into music! You ain’t into sports! You’re just here.” The rapper, now 27, had just finished his set as the opening act on this stretch of Kanye West’s Yeezus tour, and he was sitting low in an armchair in his trademark black hoodie surrounded by exactly those people.
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