Vanity Fair has been blessed with a Kendrick Lamar cover, complete with an expansive photo history piece and accompanying interview focused on his recent history-making Pulitzer honor.

Bagging a Pulitzer, Lamar explained, was something he never thought would happen. "[When I heard I got it], I thought, to be recognized in an academic world . . . whoa, this thing really can take me above and beyond," he told writer Lisa Robinson. "It's one of those things that should have happened with hip-hop a long time ago. It took a long time for people to embrace us—people outside of our community, our culture—to see this not just as vocal lyrics, but to see that this is really pain, this is really hurt, this is really true stories of our lives on wax."

That victory is the latest indicator of Lamar's currently unmatched lyrical prowess, praised in the piece with quotes from Chuck D and others. For Lamar, he's still thankful for the impact that his early studies of Eminem had on his work. "Eminem is probably one of the best wordsmiths ever," he said when asked about his own writing process. "There's a whole list of why, but just bending words. . . . The Marshall Mathers LP change my life."


As is so often the case in artist interviews over the past few months, Lamar was also asked about the Trumpism era of the career of Kanye West, with whom he's previously toured and collaborated. In the piece, Robinson noted that Lamar hit a "long pause" when asked about West's recent remarks on Trump and slavery before ultimately keeping his response quite brief. "He has his own perspective, and he's on this whole agree to disagree thing, and I would have this conversation with him personally if I want to," Lamar said.

Lamar also spoke on being "less enthused" about the NFL due to the culture's treatment of Colin Kaepernick, that viral n-word incident at Hangout Fest ("If I say this is my word, let me have this one word, please let me have that word"), and more. Peep the full interview, featuring photography by Annie Leibovitz, here.