Produced By: Sounwave, THC, Terrace Martin
Kendrick Lamar: “‘m.A.A.d city’ is the turn up. That’s the side of Compton that everybody knows, the aggressive side. The first half of the song [is like] the interlude half of it, the actual song is with MC Eiht on it. That’s really the turn up. In that I state the actual title: m.A.A.d city.
“'m.A.A.d city' has two meanings; My Angel on Angel Dust and My Angry Adolescence Divided. If you listen to the album [you’ll find out] the reason why I don’t smoke weed. Because once upon a time, you’d find stuff laced with cocaine [and angel dust]. That caused a reaction and I put that inside the song. That really happened to me. That’s the reason for the title.
“MC Eiht gave us the stamp [by getting on that track]. He recognized that he’s actually been in that world too. MC Eiht is a great influence on me with him being from Compton and speaking on something that was real. MC Eiht influenced me by showing me that I don’t have to talk about a lifestyle that’s not mine to win. He talks about his lifestyle growing up. That stuck and people still relate to that. He gave me inspiration to speak on something that was real to me.”
MC Eiht: “Kendrick wanted me to get on the song. In this day and age, you appreciate it but you can never tell. Sometimes songs fly, sometimes they don’t. But he said that he wanted me to come to the studio. We got to the studio, he played me the track, we kicked around the concept and what he wanted. I tossed around some ideas, tossed around a few verses, and vibed out to his verses. And bingo, the song just connected.
“I thought it was a good look [to do the song]. I try to stay in tune with what’s going on nowadays with the young cats. I had heard a couple of Kendrick’s songs. Being from Compton, it’s always talk of the next young cat that’s coming up. So I’d been hearing a few things from him.
“Seeing as I’m trying to get my two cents towards what’s going on in the hip-hop world, when he called me up and asked me to be on the project, I was grateful. Kendrick told me that he had always listened to my music and he had grown up on my earlier stuff. A lot of young cats don’t like to pay homage to the older generation of rap. Seeing that I was sort of a little influence on him, it was just good to be a part of his album.
“I know he got Game, he got Dre, and whoever else [in his corner]. But to really come down to what they call the ‘hood level’ of music, it was a real big step. So I appreciated him and TDE for reaching out to me and just putting me on the project.
“His album is not on no cornball shit. It’s dealing with a lot of real issues and a lot of real hip-hop music. It’s real significant because it’s following a pattern of trying to bring the West Coast back as a whole. Not saying that we want to put the weight of the West on Kendrick’s shoulders because he’s a young cat and he’s doing his thing, but he’s representing.
“Anytime you got somebody coming out from the West Coast on a significant project like this, it’s always good to uplift the West Coast. Because not too many cats over here are being talked about or getting too much music out. So, to have a big release like this, with Aftermath and Interscope being behind it and taking a chance to come back to Compton, I think it’s real positive for the West Coast.”
'm.A.A.d city' has two meanings; My Angel on Angel Dust and My Angry Adolescence Divided. If you listen to the album [you’ll find out] the reason why I don’t smoke weed. Because once upon a time, you’d find stuff laced with cocaine [and angel dust]. That really happened to me. That’s the reason for the title. - Kendrick Lamar
Sounwave: “Originally, that song had a B.B. King record sampled on it. At the last minute, we find out we couldn’t use it [because we couldn’t clear the sample]. But we needed this record on the project. We couldn’t lose it. So I make some phone calls and find this incredible player named Mary Keeting and she just took it to another level. At first, the record was good. But after she did what she did with it... We can’t even stand [to listen to] the original version now.
“MC Eiht is one of Kendrick’s old childhood idols. He always looked up to him for his work in Menace II Societyand his music. Kendrick was just pitching ideas like, ‘What if I got MC Eiht on there?’ We all looked at each other, like, ‘What do you mean ‘What if? You have to get him on there!’ Eiht came to the studio, he sat there and wrote his verse exactly like how we wanted it to sound.”
MixedByAli: “A friend of mine was family to MC Eiht, and all I did was reach out. MC Eiht heard Kendrick was a fan so he came by the studio that day and knocked it out, quick too. I’m a young dude myself so I’ve never really heard too much music from him but when I heard the song it was perfect.”
Punch: “The ‘good kid’ is him and the ‘m.A.A.d. city’ is actually the mad city. That’s why those songs have to go back to back. We have MC Eiht on there to give it that authentic Compton sound. Even when we played it in New York people went crazy when they heard his voice. I didn’t know he translated to the East like that. It was shocking to hear the response he got in there.
“Funny story: When MC Eiht was texting me, I would hear his voice in my head when reading his texts. He says ‘Chyea’ in his texts and he says it exactly like that in real life. [Laughs.]”