kendrick lamar billboard magazine

With the 58th Annual Grammy Awards — and a potential 11-award sweep — just days away, Kendrick Lamar graces the cover of Billboard‘s latest issue. Speaking with Jody Rosen, K. Dot gives a wide-ranging and typically insightful interview about his recent White House appointment with President Obama, his new favorite rappers (who actually have something to say) and being in the early stages of his next album. Kendrick also talks about being snubbed at the 2014 Grammys and how he’s hoping for a very different outcome at this year’s awards: “I want to win them all.”

Check out a few highlights after the jump and read the full story here. The issue hits shelves on Feb. 13.

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UPDATE: In a new video, Kendrick plays “Fishing For Answers” and reveals his greatest mentor, dream collaboration and one secret talent (aside from being able to rap his ass off).

On To Pimp a Butterfly:

“The album just had a deeper impact than I expected, because it touched so many homes, and not just in my own community. I guess I’m just speaking words that need to be heard in these times.”

“I wanted to have a time capsule on the record,” he says. “But I knew it would be fresh because a fresh kid is doing it. I said: ‘That’s what’s going to make it new — my lyrics and my words.’”

On President Obama:

“The way people look at me these days — that’s the same way I looked at President Obama before I met him. We tend to forget that people who’ve attained a certain position are human. When [the president] 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,” he says. “Even the president has got to hear that snare drum.”

On 2014 Grammys snub:

“[The Grammy defeats] would have been upsetting to me if I’d known that was my best work, if I had nothing new to offer,” he says. “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.”

On his new favorite rappers:

Asked to name favorite fellow travelers, Lamar cites Chance the Rapper, the Brooklyn ’90s-rap revivalist Joey Badass and Isaiah Rashad, Lamar’s labelmate on Top Dawg Entertainment. For Lamar, these young rappers represent a new vanguard, a cohort of 20-somethings who belie criticism of millennials as disengaged and apathetic. “When everybody looks at our generation of kids, they always call us the misfits — you know, like we just don’t give a damn,” he says. “But these individuals, they show that we do have some sense. Our generation just needs the proper people to tell us about our problems, about our wrongs and our rights.”

On his next album:

“As far as content, what I want to get across, I have an idea,” he says. “But even that’s still premature. Once I get back in that studio, things evolve into other things.”

Related: Kendrick Lamar Reps Compton to the Fullest In New Grammys Promo