By Chuck Arnold Carlos Greer
January 27, 2014 12:00 PM

>Kendrick Lamar

The hot rapper is up for Album of the Year and Best New Artist

You have seven nominations. Which award do you want the most?

All of them! But anybody will say the biggest one is Album of the Year. I didn’t quite understand [the Grammys] when I was young. I wish I could go back to the ’80s and focus and really think about one day being there.

Who are you most excited to meet?

Lorde. I’m really feeling “Royals.” And I want to see [fellow Best New Artist nominee] James Blake.

Your mentor Dr. Dre executive-produced Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. How was it working with him?

Crazy. I’m a fan first, but in the studio I’d have to snap back into rapper mode. This is a legendary dude, and he’s still going. It’s just astonishing.

Both you and Dre are from Compton, Calif., and the city is a major theme of your album.

Our story hadn’t been told in a long time, so I’m just giving the world a view of the city from my perspective. When people are rapping your verse in the U.K., it lets you know how big of an influence you have. But you still have to show your face [in Compton] and give back.

What feedback have you gotten from the community?

A thank-you for keeping our story alive. I think music is the healer of all things.

You’ve been opening for Kanye West on his Yeezus Tour. How’s it going?

Seeing how much energy and passion he puts on the stage, it [reminds] me to give it all you got because it is a God-given talent.

Catch the 56th annual

Grammy Awards

SUNDAY, JAN. 26 8 p.m. ET on CBS