The closing track off Kendrick Lamar’s Damn album wasn’t always called “Duckworth.” As pointed out by 2DopeBoyz, 9th Wonder recently revealed the song’s original title was “Life Is Like a Box of Chicken”—a more obvious reference to the near-fatal run-in between K-Dot’s father and TDE founder Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith.
As the story goes, Kendrick’s dad, Ducky, was working at a Los Angeles KFC about 20 years ago when Tiffith decided to rob the joint for a second time. Tiffith ultimately sparred Ducky’s life, thus securing Kendrick’s fate.
“Whoever thought the greatest rapper would be from coincidence? / Because if Anthony killed Ducky / Top Dawg could be servin' life / While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight,” he raps in the track.
Kendrick die-hards may also recognize “Life Is Like a Box of Chicken” from his 2015 short film, God is Gangsta. The title was one of many subliminal messages included in the project.
“It was a crazy day in Los Angeles,” 9th recalled at near the six-minute mark. “At 1 o’clock that day we went to see Snoop [Dogg]. At 6 o’clock that day we went to [Dr.] Dre’s studio […] We saw Kendrick at like 11 o’clock, and I’m like, ‘That’s the West Coast.’”
After providing Kendrick with 20 beats that day, 9th kept in contact with TDE executive Dave Free.
“[Free] hit me like, ‘Hey man, I need the samples for these two songs,’” 9th said. “I’m like thinking, ‘Oh I got two beats that made it. Then he hit me back and said, ‘There’s a third beat I need the sample information on.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, OK, I got three.’”
9th said he assumed the beats were for three separate cuts. Free clarified: “He’s like, ‘Nah, it’s one song,’” 9th recalled. “He’s like, ‘Yeah, man, it’s the greatest story Kendrick has ever told.’”
You can watch the full Rap Radar interview above.