Hours before Kendrick Lamar makes his small-screen acting debut, Power creator Courtney A. Kemp opened up about the rapper’s mysterious role and how it came to be. And, despite what many people believe, the casting decision had nothing to do with ratings.
“No, it wasn’t an idea of we need big guest stars or we’re trying to get more eyeballs. It was not that at all,” Kemp said during the Television Critics Association press tour Saturday. “It was much more about, here’s an artist that we respect and he wants to come play in our sandbox, let’s give him the best quality sand, buckets and shovels we can. Let’s all get in there, yeah let’s play. We love to play here, you know?”
According to The Wrap, Kemp revealed 50 Cent—Power’s star and executive producer—was the one who facilitated the casting. She said soon after Fif informed her about Kendrick’s interest in the show, she immediately contacted him to ask what kind of role he wanted to play. The Compton rapper already had an answer.
“He said, ‘You know, I’d like to play’—well, he didn’t say ‘drug addict,’ but he used a different word. But so then we created the character Laces,” Kemp said. “We had already broken part of the season, and we were always going to have 50’s character [Kanan] use someone else to kill a bunch of ‘tinos. So those two things came together very naturally. We already had the idea in place. And then Sophia Derry wrote this incredible script and this incredible character in Laces, for Kendrick to play. And he showed up to win, you know?”
So, we know Kendrick will play a “drug addict” named Laces, who will interact with 50’s character Kanan; however, it’s still unclear of Kendrick will have a recurring role.
“I can’t tell you that before the episode airs!” Kemp told a reporter. “Why would I tell you that?”
You can check out Kendrick, Kemp, and 50 discussing the much-anticipated Power episode below.
The Kendrick-starring episode, titled “Happy Birthday,” will air at 8 p.m. Sunday on Starz.