The Story Behind These Never-Before-Seen Photographs of Kendrick Lamar

Last night, two photographs of Kendrick Lamar made the rounds on Twitter. In the photographs, Kendrick sits serenely on his tour bus draped in neutral hues. The person behind these stunning photos taken after a Championship Tour Stop? 18-year-old filmmaker and photographer, Braylen.

I got the chance to ask Braylen some questions about his incredible experience that night, his future plans, and more. Here they are:

1. If you don’t mind me asking, who are you? Tell me about yourself.

Braylen: My name is Braylen, I’m 18 and I’ve been into film and photography since I was in 4th grade. I currently live in Atlanta too.

2. Now walk me through this whole experience, how did it come to fruition?

Braylen: This mainly happened since I decided to get meet and greet because I had more than enough, but meet and greet can be really rushed so I was worried I wouldn’t be able to talk to him. He follows me on Twitter, so I figured I’d hurry and mention that once I walked in and I was so stressed the day before, but once I said who I was he immediately knew and said it was good to finally meet me and said he’d message me back after. It was probably 30 minutes later and I got invited backstage.

3. What did you and Kendrick talk about? What’s his tour bus like?

Braylen: I did most of the talking now that I think about it, but I explained how I found out about him from my cousin in 2011 & started to pay attention to him even more once I heard the Buried Alive Interlude from Take Care. I talked about what I like to do, my family, his albums, and more stuff I can’t exactly recall. His tour bus was really nice though & pretty big. The space was perfect for several people to all sit in without being pushed up against each other.

4. How did you get into photography? Who are your biggest inspirations?

Braylen: I got into it since I was so interested in pictures having blurred backgrounds with something focused on it around 5th grade. My inspirations are mainly film/music video directors though. Some of them are Kahlil Joseph, Ava DuVernay, Colin Tilley, Dave Meyers, & Barry Jenkins.

5. Is there a place you dream of your photos being published?

Braylen: The Fader Magazine.

6. Who or what would be your dream subject for a photo series?

Braylen: Black culture as a whole.

7. What’s your favorite Kendrick song and album? Why?

Braylen: “For Sale?” is my favorite song. To Pimp a Butterfly is my favorite album since it’s helped me in so many ways and the album is just a masterpiece and so dense.

8. How was The Championship Tour? Favorite part, favorite set? What would you rate it?

Braylen: It was really great and my favorite part/set was, of course, Kendrick but I was happy to see Isaiah Rashad perform since he’s technically not on the tour, but I was kinda upset since SZA wasn’t there. Everyone had a great performance, especially [ScHoolboy] Q & SiR (I was surprised at how great SiR was live). I would rate it a 10/10.

9. To you, what is the importance of the relationship between a fan and an artist?

Braylen: I think it’s good for artists to have somewhat of a relationship with fans like talking to them every now and then on social media, but it’s not always required. The bigger they get, they might not have as much time like when they first start off.

10. What’s next from here? Are there any projects on the horizon?

Braylen: I’m planning stuff right now with a few people to expand my portfolio.

11. What advice do you have for fans that would quite literally die for an experience like yours?

Braylen: Thanks! Probably don’t act crazy because artists will get turned off from it. Being starstruck is one thing, but don’t be all over them or it’ll probably be a bad experience for both of you.

Check out Braylen’s stunning photographs of Kendrick here and his Twitter profile here.


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