Produced By: Tha Bizness
Kendrick Lamar: “I was in Atlanta when Tha Bizness gave me the beat. Immediately I got a vibe where I wanted to talk about a specific girl back when I was growing up. A specific story that leads down the line into the album. I got the track and I started writing and I went back home and laid it down.
“These songs, they come naturally for me to write off the experiences I grew up with and the things I been around. It was just what we were going through. It’s easy for me to write [real] stories rather than making up a crazy story.”
Dow Jones (of Tha Bizness): “TDE is family. We’ve been messing with them since like 2007. We actually met Kendrick for the first time when we were working on a song called ‘Westside’ for Jay Rock’s album and did the first Black Hippy song ever, ‘Zip That, Chop That.’ At that time, nobody even knew what Black Hippy was. We’ve been rocking with them for years. They were able to watch us rise to the top. Now we’re watching them rise to the top. So it’s been dope to be able to build with people who are really our friends.”
This feels like the first time that 50 Cent dropped. This is one of those big releases. There hasn’t been this much anticipation for an album in a long time.
—Dow Jones (of Tha Bizness)
Henny aka J-Hen (of Tha Bizness): “We started working with Kendrick, we were working on some new sounds. When we met with him, we had done a few songs already, but he was looking for something different. We had picked up a couple tracks that we did and when we started using Native Instruments Maschine with the mic. There was live instruments, live bass. We had some weird sounds I was making with my mouth. He just fell in love with the track.
“He was like, ‘Man, this is it. This is what I need. This is the anthem that I feel,’ even though it was moody. It’s him. It’s Kendrick. It’s his sound, his type of an anthem. It kind of brings you back to that Section.80 feel. We just got in there and banged it out and shot the track to Ali to mix it.”
Dow Jones (of Tha Bizness): “It's dope for us to be the first song that people hear on a Kendrick Lamar album. It’s us and him together. It’s pretty big because for us, this feels like the first time that 50 Cent dropped. This is one of those big releases. There hasn’t been this much anticipation for an album in a long time where not a lot of songs have leaked. He’s done a good job of keeping everything close to the vest. It shows you how much he cares about the music.”
Henny aka J-Hen (of Tha Bizness): “Kendrick started out in the background working with producers and doing hooks so he already developed himself as a producer in his own right. When we get with him, he’ll tell you what sounds he likes, what vibe he’s looking for. That’s what inevitably made him so big. The fact that he’s been able to create his own sound even with all the producers that he has worked with, he’s been able to get his sound out of them.
“With us, with some of the songs we worked on prior to having this one selected for the album—they’re all across the board. He’s starting to nitpick exactly what he wanted from us so we gave it to him.”
The version of that song that’s on the album was probably the third version of that song. There were different lyrics changes and structures and different stuff. It was changed because it’s a basic storyline and the story starts from an awkward point in the story.
Punch: “I didn’t come in with my creative [assistance on that song] until everything was laid. The version of that song that’s on the album was probably the third version of that song. There were different lyrics changes and structures and different stuff. It was changed because it’s a basic storyline and it starts from an awkward point in the story. So we wanted to have the song where there wasn’t the hook breaking up the story.
“[One of the things I do at TDE is] I help with sequencing. Sequencing is very important. Kendrick will have the first and second verse and be like, ‘I don’t know where I want to go from here.’ I’ll come in and be like, ‘Maybe we should go here because it ties to this, this, and that. Then we go here after that.’ I give a lot of backstory as to why songs would make sense next to certain songs. It’s sort of like a movie script, I give the characters a backstory so you can understand them more fully than what’s in the script.”
MixedByAli: “We all experienced [what Kendrick talks about on the song]. We all went to house parties. We all tried to meet up with a young lady in the wrong neighborhood and hoped you didn’t run into the wrong people when you’re doing it. It’s crazy how this album reflects [things we all went through], especially things I went through in my own life.”