READING, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30: Kendrick Lamar performs on stage during the final day of the Reading Festival at Richfield Aven
C Brandon

“I want to win them all,” is easily the No. 1 statement in Billboard's Kendrick Lamar cover story. He's talking about the GRAMMYs, where he's nominated for 11 awards including Album of the Year and Song of the Year. It's a striking quote for the fact that in an industry full of "just happy to be nominated" and "awards don't mean anything" sentiments, Kendrick's saying flat out that he wants it.

As for the zero awards won for the landmark album good kid, m.A.A.d city—which lost Best Rap Album to MacklemoreRyan Lewis' The Heist—Kendrick is all Zen:

“[The losses] would have been upsetting to me if I’d known that was my best work, if I had nothing new to offer. good kid, m.A.A.d city is great work, but it’s not my best work. To Pimp a Butterfly is great. I’m talking about the connection the record made. good kid, m.A.A.d city made a connection. But To Pimp a Butterfly made a bigger connection."

Austin Hargrave for Billboard

As far as awards show go as a whole, Kendrick contends that there's still an importance to them. “It’s bigger than me," he says. "When we think about the GRAMMYs, only Lauryn Hill and OutKast have won Album of the Year. This would be big for hip-hop culture at large.”

The profile also includes talk about the still-very-cloudy Butterfly follow-up, plus what it was like to hang out with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office:

“When [President Obama] said to my face what his favorite record was -- I understood that, no matter how high-ranking you get in this world, you’re human. ... No matter how high the pedestal you reach, we all still like a beat. Even the President has got to hear that snare drum.”