Elusive beatmaker and hip-hop savant Madlib has collaborated with everyone from Kanye West, to Erykah Badu, to the late MF DOOM, but he apparently missed the opportunity to join forces with Kendrick Lamar on the Grammy award-winning album To Pimp a Butterfly. 

In a new interview with the Guardian, the prolific producer admitted that he missed Kendrick’s call back when the Compton rapper sought out Madlib for his 2015 release. 

“Back then I was more elusive than I am now,” he told the British newspaper. “I was busy on my own thing. Missed opportunities, man.”

While Madlib’s genre-bending beats on Kendrick’s instant classic could have been revolutionary, the Bandana artist told the Guardian it “probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway,” because he’s “like a sore thumb.” Even with more than 20 albums under his belt, including collaborative projects, Madlib a.k.a. Otis Jackson, Jr.  has never collaborated “properly” in the studio with anyone. 

During the interview, Jackson also reflected on the loss of his old friend and collaborator MF DOOM, the legendary rapper whose wife revealed last month passed away on October 31, 2020. 

“I still don’t believe it,” he said. “Everybody’s still learning off of him.” 

While Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf said earlier this month that Madlib and Doom’s next Madvillainy follow up was “85 percent done,” Jackson told the Guardian that his late friend stalled on finishing the project “because of the first deal on the record.” 

“That kind of ruined it. You know, record label business,” he said. “What all artists go through.”

Madlib released his latest project Sound Ancestors from Madlib Invasion this week. Listen to the album below.