Kendrick Lamar thinks hip-hop culture determines ''what's cool and what's not cool''.

The chart-topping rapper has a deep-rooted love of hip-hop culture and Kendrick believes it is the most influential genre of music in America.

He said: ''Hip-hop has always been the ultimate genre. Yeah. Even when these numbers wasn't out. Even when the stats wasn't out we always moved the needle. We always ... we were the culture.

''You can debate me on this all day you want. We say what's cool and what's not cool. We say what we like.''

The 30-year-old star grew up listening to the likes of Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre in Compton, where hip-hop music dominated the airwaves of local radio stations.

And in retrospect, Kendrick is amazed that anyone ever doubted the longevity of the genre.

Speaking to Forbes magazine, Kendrick recalled: ''My mom told me, I couldn't believe when she told me this. She said 1987, the year I was born, [people were saying] hip-hop was going to last six months to a year ... that tripped me out.

''And now you fast forward and you see Jay-Z up there, you know? [Song]writers' Hall of Fame. This is us. This is who I am. He's from the projects. You dig what I'm saying?''

Kendrick claimed that the success of Jay and other hip-hop moguls serves to underline the ever-increasing influence of the culture.

The 'Poetic Justice' hitmaker said: ''You look at what's Dre done. You look at what Puff done, and you look at some of the guys that carried that mood of culture forward outside of hip-hop ...

''We tell you what it ain't, if it ain't it. We decide that, you know? Simple as that.''