Produced By: Just Blaze
Kendrick Lamar: “That’s the start of my life. That’s the start of the positivity that I kept in. That’s the exact start. The movie ends after ‘Real.’ You’ll hear the cassette loading. It ends with ‘Real.’ The new chapter starts with ‘Compton.’”
Punch: “‘Compton’ is a record I wanted from the jump. I wanted to actually put that out before ‘The Recipe.’ I just felt like that's such a statement with Dre because it was such a summation of the whole project.
“Kendrick is such a perfectionist that sometimes I just leave the studio. I’ll be gone. I think he got it good the first 20 times. I think he got a lot of that from Dr. Dre though, because when Dre first worked with him on Detox, Dre really made an impression on us.”
One of the reasons why it’s the perfect song is that the history behind that song is incredible. It was the first song I ever recorded with Dre. It was the first time meeting him and actually walking in the studio, that was the beat that was playing. I’ll never forget that exact moment. - Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar: “One of the reasons why it’s the perfect song is that the history behind that song is incredible. It was the first song I ever recorded with Dre. It was the first time meeting him and actually walking in the studio, that was the beat that was playing. He was testing me out, to see if I could—that’s really me rapping, better than here. That was the first song. It was a great experience. I’ll never forget that exact moment.”
Punch: “We were at Dre’s house recording at four in the morning. We were working on this one song for hours. Dre’s like, ‘I’m tired. I’m going to go to sleep. Y’all can continue working if you want to.’ He goes up to his room, maybe 10 minutes later you hear the same song we was working on blasting in his room. He runs downstairs and worked until eight in the morning. And Dre, he’s set. He doesn’t have to work another day in his life. So to see his work ethic, it really made an impression on us.
“It trickled right down. So Kendrick is not going to budge or compromise on his art. So if he’s not pronouncing something right, he’s going to make sure he’s got it before the public hears it. Because Dre came down and worked for four more hours and he don’t have to do none of that—he’s set forever. So that definitely trickled down.”
Just Blaze: “We always knew that the record was gonna be about Compton. Even before we made the decision to definitely make it a Dre and Kendrick record. Originally that was for Detox. We were trying to figure out who we were gonna put on it and there were a couple of revisions.
We were at Dre’s house recording at four in the morning. Dre’s like, ‘I’m tired. I’m going to go to sleep.’ He goes up to his room, maybe 10 minutes later he runs back downstairs, and we worked until eight in the morning. Dre doesn’t have to work another day in his life. So to see his work ethic, it really made an impression on us. —Punch
“Dre, he pieces songs together. He might like a couple of bars of a verse from one person, a couple of bars of a verse from somebody else. So, he had a bunch of people writing to it because he was trying to figure out who he wanted to feature on the song. So Kendrick wrote to it. When he decided to put Detox on hold again, he’d never forgotten about that track. He was like, ‘I wanna just use it for me and Kendrick instead of holding it for my album.’
“One of the key things about the record is I like my records to have a start and a finish. Things like that make them more memorable. I did the same thing kind of with songs like Drake’s ‘Lord Knows’ at the end. It’s cool if I have a record that ends up charting and is all over the airwaves. But I’d like to convey statements and emotions, not just through words, but through the music. So I just try to give people a feeling or something that they’ll remember way after the single’s come and gone. I try to make a record that we’ll always go back to.
"When I had originally did it for Dre, it was just a skeleton, it wasn’t fully flushed out. So it didn’t have an opening and a closing. I went back and added that whole synth and vocoder at the end to make it an event, close the record out, and make a statement. Even though it’s not necessarily an L.A. sounding record, I wanted to try and bring it full circle. I wanted the record to reflect what I do, but also reflect who they are, geographically and musically, as well.
One of the things I always get from the people at Aftermath is like, ‘Yo, you’re one of the few producers who Dre actually respects and is really a big fan of.’ So working with him is always very easy. —Just Blaze
“One of the things I always get from the people at Aftermath is like, ‘Yo, you’re one of the few producers who Dre actually respects and is really a big fan of.’ So working with him is always very easy, because he lets me do me. That in itself is very humbling. There are times where I’m sitting there saying to myself, ‘Yo, I’m actually on the phone with Dr. Dre.’ I can just pick up the phone and get him on the phone. I’m not bragging when I’m saying that. It’s amazing because this is somebody that was definitely an integral part of my musical history.
“I’m happy to still be here. I’ve been here a long time and the shelf life for producers in hip-hop is not that long. You get a couple of records, you’re in and you’re out. So for me, 15 years later, to still be here and be part of something that’s so highly anticipated, I’m grateful.”