One of the most controversial moments on Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, was the revelation that Kodak Black would be featured on the project. The Florida native contributed to four tracks: “Silent Hill,” “Worldwide Steppers,” “Mirror” and “Rich (Interlude).”
In an interview with Spotify’s RapCaviar, Kodak thanked Lamar for letting him be a part of the record:
“He put me on game. He genuinely trying to see a n***a win, for sure. We could’ve just did the song, and it never came out. But he went as far as having me speak on the intros, the interludes, and all this other stuff; having me do a poem on there. He already know what my intellect go. So he like, ‘Man, I just want you to go in there and talk your shit.’ And he trust me, and I appreciate him for trusting me with his album, ’cause he ain’t got to do none of that.”
His prominence on Mr. Morale shocked many since Kodak Black is a convicted rapist. The artist pled guilty to first-degree assault and battery last year after being charged for violently sexually assaulting a high school girl following a concert in 2016. In 2017, he was accused of kicking and punching a female employee at a Miami-Dade strip club.
Kodak Black has also made disparaging remarks about dark-skinned Black women. However, Lamar didn’t let his troubled past stop the two from having a friendship as Kodak explained:
“Me and Kendrick got a lot of little things in common that people won’t probably understand. Both of us, we Geminis. Both of us, you know, we Hebrew Israelite. Me and him, we could talk and he understand me beyond than what the internet theories; it’s like he got a different perception of me, and he ain’t cap. Like, he say we going to do something, and we do it. You know, Kendrick from the streets for real, too. I fuck with that boy. I got a lot of love for him.”
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Lamar isn’t the first rapper to embrace one of his toxic peers—and he certainly won’t be the last.