Compton is full of up-and-coming rap talent, some of which can be seen on the cover of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly.’ Artists like Boogie, Jay Worthy, Hitta J3, and Kalifornia King Special are busy building their music careers—while also trying to get by day to day.
Compton, California, is known for launching the rap careers of stars like Kendrick Lamar, and music provides a promising avenue out of the community’s cycle of violence. In the second of six segments of Noisey Bompton, we spend a day with Kendrick’s childhood friend Lil L, who’s pursuing his own musical ambitions. L’s grandma invites us over for a gumbo dinner and shares her experiences as a mother and grandmother who’s lived in Compton since 1965. Then we head to one of the West Side’s many hole-in-the-wall studios, where L gets to work recording with his friend Earl Swavey and producer Larry Jayy.
Compton, California, is one of hip-hop’s most celebrated locales, the birthplace of acts like N.W.A. and, more recently, Kendrick Lamar. It’s also home to a complicated gang culture. Noisey Bompton centers around Kendrick Lamar and the friends he grew up with on the West Side of Compton, many of whom feature on the cover of his album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly.’ n the first of six segments, we sit down with Kendrick to talk about his acclaimed albums, pay a visit to his high school, Centennial, and get to know his childhood friend Lil L.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have definitely heard about Kendrick Lamar’s epic performance at The 58th Grammy Awards. Although he didn’t win the coveted Album of the Year (that went to Taylor Swift), the Compton emcee won 5 awards including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and more. But it was his performance that will be etched into the memory of all who watched. Check it out as Kendrick performs “Blacker The Berry” and “Alright” before kicking a previously unheard verse.
With the Grammys just a few days away, The Academy has decided to release a series of Oral History pieces for each nominee for “Album of the Year.” For Kendrick Lamar’s highly touted To Pimp A Butterfly, The Grammys rounded up the likes of Rapsody, Sounwave, MixedByAli, Terrace Martin, Thundercat and, of course, Kendrick Lamar to explain what went into the creation of the album.
On “King Kunta”…
Sounwave: When we first did “King Kunta,” the beat was the jazziest thing ever with pretty flutes. Kendrick said he liked it but to “make it nasty.” He referenced a DJ Quik record with Mausberg [“Get Nekkid”] and he told me what to do with it. I added different drums to it, simplified it, got Thundercat on the bass, and it was a wrap.
Thundercat: That strong-a** rhythm with banging drums and bass was created by me and Sounwave watching “Fist Of The North Star” while eating Yoshinoya. It’s funny because a lot of this album was created eating Yoshinoya and watching cartoons. It was so funky and so black.
Terrace Martin (co-producer): If you dig deeper you hear the lineage of James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Mahalia Jackson, the sounds of Africa, and our people when they started over here. I hear something different every time. I heard Cuban elements in it the other day.
On “Wesley’s Theory”…
Lamar: I was on tour with Kanye [West] and I had Flying Lotus with me because I wanted to work on the bus studio. He would make beats and it was one particular beat that he forgot to play. He skipped it but I heard about three seconds of it and I asked him, “What is that?” He said, “You don’t know nothing about that. That’s real funk. … You’re not going to rap on that.” It was like a dare.
Thundercat (co-producer): [“Wesley’s Theory”] started with Flying Lotus and I sitting on the couch in front of the computer analyzing George Clinton. He became the fuel for creating. I was really blown away that Kendrick was so into that song.
Sounwave: That song is the album cover.
Lamar: I had to find George Clinton in the woods, man. He was somewhere in the South and I had to fly out to him. We got in the studio and just clicked. Rocking with him took my craft to another level and that pushed me to make more records like that for the album.
Read the rest here.
With the Grammy’s looming, check out the new short film celebrating Compton, the city that inspired 2016 GRAMMY nominee Kendrick Lamar and helped make him the artist he is today.
After delivering a brief snippet, Kanye West unveils the full collaboration with Kendrick Lamar titled “No More Parties In LA” that is produced by Madlib.
After the lukewarm reaction to “Facts,” Kanye returns with “Real Friends/No More Parties In LA” that has a guest list of Ty Dolla $ign and Kendrick Lamar along with production courtesy of Madlib, Boi-1da, SEVNTHOMAS, Frank Dukes & additional programming by Havoc. This is just a sample of the song as Kanye has also announced the return of G.O.O.D. Fridays in preparation for SWISH.
Kendrick Lamar has become known to drop something completely new when he is doing a live performance and then you never hear it again. This time, K Dot hits The Tonight Show to perform “Blue Faces.” No telling if we’ll ever get a studio version of this so enjoy the live session.
To close out 2015, Kendrick Lamar combines “U” with “For Sale?” and delivers the haunting cinematic visual titled “God Is Gangsta.” It’s claustrophobic, chilling and downright uncomfortable as K Dot battles with his vices in this 7-minute short film.