Kendrick, Pharrell, Just Blaze, and others speak about putting together one of the year's best alb..." /> Kendrick, Pharrell, Just Blaze, and others speak about putting together one of the year's best alb..."/> Kendrick, Pharrell, Just Blaze, and others speak about putting together one of the year's best alb...">
The Making of Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city"

"Swimming Pools (Drank)"

Produced By: T-Minus

Kendrick Lamar: “That’s another record going back to the influence of the people around me and the household I grew up in. Each track flows into skits that really breaks down the understanding so that song goes into another skit.

“I wanted to do something that felt good, but had a meaning behind it at the same time. Really bringing that mainstream world to us, rather than a rapper with content along to the nation. I wanted to do something that’s universal to everybody but still true to myself.

"What better way to make something universal than to speak about drinking? I'm coming from a household where you had to make a decision—you were either a casual drinker or you were a drunk. That’s what that record is really about, me experiencing that as a kid and making my own decisions.”

MixedByAli: “With records like that, I actually get to see the music when I look at it. And when I heard the second verse and heard his conscience come in, I knew we had to do something to switch it up right there. So we changed that, did some panning, some vocal animations and stuff like that.

 

What better way to make something universal than to speak about drinking? I'm coming from a household where you had to make a decision—you were either a casual drinker or you were a drunk. That’s what that record is really about, me experiencing that as a kid and making my own decisions.
—Kendrick Lamar

 

“That record came about when T-Minus sent us the beat. This was a minute ago, Kendrick was playing it and he didn’t even know what to do to it, it was so crazy. So a couple weeks later he just came with this song and it was a hit.

“That song was actually fun to mix. Me and Dr. Dre mixed that one. The beat is real open so you can kind of do whatever you want to it, as far as messing with the vocals. So I was just playing with some delays, some reverbs, tweak it out make it sound real eerie. 

"Working with Dre is amazing, man. Me, being the age I am, I grew up listening to this man’s music. Dre is a genius. He’s a perfectionist. And watching him work, I learned a lot. I gained so much experience and knowledge, even outside of music—all the stuff he’s seen and been through in his life. So I’m blessed to be in that position. He said that in 30 years, his whole career, he has never really mixed with nobody. I was like the first person he’s ever mixed with.

“Knowing that made me feel good. Like, ‘Man this is Dr. Dre!’ He knows all the frequencies. He knows what pockets to put all the sounds in and he knows what’s missing. When the full album is done he can just hear and know it’s missing some hi-hats here. He can make you get back and ad-lib. There’s no one better than Dre.”

T-Minus: “I’m good friends with the A&Rs at Interscope. We were working together and he had a bunch of beats of mine. He played it for Kendrick and he just fell in love with that one beat. Its funny, I was thinking maybe an R&B artist was gonna jump on that beat.

 

Me and Dr. Dre mixed that one. He said that in 30 years, his whole career, he has never really mixed with nobody. I was like the first person he’s ever mixed with. —MixedByAli

 

“He had the beat, he went in on it, and he sent it back to me. I did a little bit of post-production. On his end, he had his people touch up things on the record, vocally and instrumentally. That’s one thing that’s really important, getting that post-production done because a lot of times producers just wanna send out beats and hope that the record’s just gonna make itself. But it takes more than that.

“Kendrick and TDE, they know what they’re doing. They have a sound that they’re going for and they have a style. That’s what’s really important. I find with artists these days, they usually want some hot beats to jump on a record and that’s it, throw it out.

“With Kendrick, he comes with the whole package. It’s not just hot records, it’s a sound. That’s just one thing I’m used to with Drake because Drake has his own sound. We like to package everything. We don’t just do hot records, we like to do conceptual projects, conceptual albums. So, that’s one thing that I loved about this project.

“I don’t really say this much, but that record I feel like has a lot of integrity. People never address [alcoholism]. A lot of people, when they first hear it, they think it’s just about drinking and the positive effects of getting drunk. But this record talks about the negative effects as well. Which is really dope because not a lot of people want to touch on all the other things. That’s one of my favorite records that I’ve ever produced.”

 

Kendrick comes with the whole package. It’s not just hot records, it’s a sound. That’s just one thing I’m used to with Drake because Drake has his own sound. We don’t just do hot records, we like to do conceptual projects. —T-Minus

 

Punch: “It’s a real deceptive record if you’re a casual listener. It sounds like we are celebrating having a good time before you actually dive into what he’s saying. He wrote it deceptive like that on purpose. If you just a casual listener go ahead, have fun. But if you really a fan of him you’ll get the message behind the record.

“That also plays a part into his actual background, what he’s seen growing up as a kid. If you look at the cover you see the 40oz bottle right next to the baby bottle. It was always around my household and the households of a lot of people I know.

“The album has the extended version because it plays more into the overall story. So it’s maybe another minute and a half to two minutes of music. You know when you do an album certain people might have certain songs exclusive to them? Like if Target has the album they might have certain songs exclusive to them. So we did a Black Hippy remix to ‘Swimming Pools’ for one of those things.”

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