There’s no question that Kendrick Lamar is a lyrical swordsman. So for the cover of Mass Appeal’s latest issue (No. 56), the Compton rhymer holds a samurai sword with his teeth. Um, isn’t that dangerous?

It’s a striking photo nonetheless and the cover tag says it all -- “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword.” Props to photographer Chris Buck who snapped the photo, which is inspired by a Mick Jagger biography.

Veteran rap journalist Gabriel Alvarez talked to K.Dot weeks after he dropped his critically acclaimed album, To Pimp a Butterfly, which is, undoubtedly, one of the best rap albums of 2015.

Among the jewels the 27-year-old wordsmith dropped on the writer include confirming that a J.Cole collaborative project is in the works. In addition, Lamar talks about the response to TPAB.

"I love the response for it. But when you really break down the album, it’s not only for blacks. I have just as equal people outside of my culture understanding the album," he states. "This album is more about deciding what you’re gonna do with your fame and your fortune."

"[Is it] for negative or for positive reasons? When you look at the first half of the album, it’s really me trying to figure it out, y’know? [I’m being] flamboyant, boastin’, being vengeful in certain places," he continues. "Then going down that line of saying, 'OK, I can do something better with it.' So I don’t think it only resonates with blacks, but with people all around the world, man, that can respect the idea of going through a journey or a rebellion, and figuring it out."

Finally, Lamar explains the concept behind his bold black-and-white cover artwork for TPAB. Apparently, the men in the picture are Lamar's friends from Compton whom he talked about on his last album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city. The white guy on the ground is a judge.

“You look at these individuals and you look at them as bad people or a menace to society, but they’re actually good people, just a product of their environment,” he says. “Only God can judge these individuals right here. Not no one with a gavel handing out football numbers of years and not giving these kids a chance at life. Every n---- is a star."

You can cop the new Mass Appeal magazine with Kendrick Lamar on the cover at newsstands or on the publication's official web store.

Watch Kendrick Lamar Explain His 'To Pimp a Butterfly' Album Artwork

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