If his blank Instagram account is any indication, Kendrick Lamar isn’t big on social media — or the spotlight in general. The rapper — who recently followed up 2017’s DAMN. with the long-awaited Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers — discussed stepping away from the limelight in a rare cover story interview with Citizen Magazine, saying, “If I feel I have to remove myself, I just remove myself.”

“Because I’m so invested in who I am outside of being famous, sometimes that’s all I know,” Lamar said. “I’ve always been a person that really didn’t dive too headfirst into wanting and needing attention. I mean, we all love attention, but for me, I don’t necessarily adore it. I use it when I want to communicate something.”

Rather than projecting a manicured persona online, “The person that people see now is the person that I’ve always been,” Lamar said. “For me, the privacy thing has never been an issue that I had to carry out with full intention. It’s just who I am. If I feel I have to remove myself, I just remove myself. I won’t complain about it. I won’t cause a big blow-up or a big stir and let the world know that the walls are closing in.”


Despite his well-adjusted take on fame, Lamar noted that he understood how other artists could spiral under the microscope. “Being able to be aware [of myself emotionally] and be able to eventually grow — emotionally mature to that level, it may take more time than the next man,” he said. “That’s why I never point fingers when artists are not capable of upholding themselves in that type of stressful position because some people grow different and it takes time especially… when who they are and who they want to be sometimes gets distorted. For me, it’s all about being aware of how I’m feeling. If it is too much, let me remove myself for a couple of years.”

Part of that privacy comes from Lamar not participating in social media. While the rapper said members of his team tip him off to what’s going on online, he admitted that, “I don’t really know how to use it like that.”

Lamar stepped out of the shadows in May to drop Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. His “The Big Steppers Tour” continues through the year (grab tickets here); so far, Lamar moved a Houston security guard to tears during one show, and he shouted out a young fan also named Kendrick at another in Detroit.