You know that space alien voice K-Dot slips into on “Control?” Straight Prince. In his Mass Appeal cover story, Kendrick told Gabe Alvarez where his style comes from: “I think what gives me my sound is not only the gangsta rap but a lot of the oldies. I always say my foundation comes from records like the Isley Brothers and even more [so] Prince. My pops played a lot of Prince. And what I learned from Prince is he knew how to use his voice as an instrument. Whether he was doing his falsetto or his baritones, he had them pockets. I pattern my lyrics and my style and my aggression the same way.”
The two almost worked together on To Pimp a Butterfly. “I wrote the hook for 'Complexions,' and originally I wanted Prince and Azealia Banks to sing both hooks, and Rapsody to do all the verses. I demoed the hook for Prince to sing that 'Complexions… Complexions don’t mean a thing' and on the breakdown where it says, “I like it, I love it,” I wanted him to bring out his guitar on there and [he starts playing air guitar]. You feel me? I played [the demo] for Prince, but in the middle of that we [had] to perform [at his record release party]. And the conversation [backstage] just kept lingerin’ on about life and about the music business, so we just never got to it. But he’s a legend and that would have been a blessing for sure.” Damn.