Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Rapsody & More Discuss The Making Of “To Pimp A Butterfly”


(AllHipHop News) On February 15 Kendrick Lamar will have the opportunity to join Lauryn Hill and OutKast as the only Hip Hop acts to ever win the coveted Grammy award for Album Of The Year. Kendrick’s To Pimp A Butterfly is competing against The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind The Madness, Taylor Swift’s 1989, Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color, and Chris Stapleton’s Traveller.

[ALSO READ: Kendrick Lamar Talks “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” Grammy Losses & Impact Of “To Pimp A Butterfly”]

With a universally acclaimed project and a Hip Hop record-setting 11 Grammy nominations, Kendrick is favored by some observers to take home the AOTY trophy, the night’s biggest prize. The TDE emcee is also up for Song Of The Year, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, Best Music Video, and more. spoke with several of the people that worked on To Pimp A Butterfly for an extensive oral history of the LP. Read some of the quotes from the article below.

Kendrick Lamar:

The title grasped the entire concept of the record. [I wanted to] break down the idea of being pimped in the industry, in the community and out of all the knowledge that you thought you had known, then discovering new life and wanting to share it.

Thundercat (producer):

[“Wesley’s Theory”] started with Flying Lotus and I sitting on the couch in front of the computer analyzing George Clinton. He became the fuel for creating. I was really blown away that Kendrick was so into that song.

Sounwave (producer):

When we first did “King Kunta,” the beat was the jazziest thing ever with pretty flutes. Kendrick said he liked it but to “make it nasty.” He referenced a DJ Quik record with Mausberg [“Get Nekkid”] and he told me what to do with it. I added different drums to it, simplified it, got Thundercat on the bass, and it was a wrap.

Terrace Martin (co-producer):

If you dig deeper you hear the lineage of James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Mahalia Jackson, the sounds of Africa, and our people when they started over here. I hear something different every time. I heard Cuban elements in it the other day.

Rapsody (artist):

I was in New York the first time I got the call. [It was] the day after [Lamar’s] “Control” verse dropped. Everybody was talking about the verse and Kendrick was in Africa. I went about a year before him so I knew what that trip does to you, especially as a black person.

Derek “MixedByAli” Ali (engineer):

[The] session [for “U”] was very uncomfortable. [Lamar] wrote it in the booth. The mic was on and I could hear him walking back and forth and having these super angry vocals. Then he’d start recording with the lights off and it was super emotional. I never asked what got into him that day.

The 58th Annual Grammy Awards broadcast is scheduled to air on Monday, February 15 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS. Read the entire “The Oral History Of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly” at

[ALSO READ: TDE Engineer MixedByAli Talks Working With Dre And Kendrick]