Over the years, Kendrick Lamar has had a few epic collaborations that failed to materialise.
For good kid, m.A.A.d city, he wanted Nas on “Sing About Me” and with his 2015 sophomore, Kendrick was planning to have Prince on “Complexion (A Zulu Love).”
In an oral history pice on To Pimp a Butterfly, Rapsody – who featured on “Complexion (A Zulu Love)” – revealed that Kendrick originally planned to only have her and Prince on the track.
“He said he wanted to talk about the beauty of black people,” Rapsody recalled. “I told him to say no more. What tripped me out is Kendrick originally said that he didn’t want to do a verse on there. He wanted me to do two verses and Prince to do the hook.”
“That’s true,” Kendrick explained in the same article. “Prince heard the record, loved the record and the concept of the record got us to talking. We got to a point where we were just talking in the studio and the more time that passed we realized we weren’t recording anything. We just ran out of time, it’s as simple as that.”
Terrace Martin, one of the producers of the track – along with Thundercat, Sounwave and The Antydote – revealed that J Dilla’s music influenced a lot of how the song sounded.
Terrace Martin: We were listening to a lot of J Dilla, Jimi Hendrix and Lalah Hathaway, who’s on that song too. Robert Glasper played piano over it. Me and Sounwave heard the piano but wanted another beat so we called Lalah Hathaway and got into the spirit of J Dilla. Then Rapsody got to it and murdered it.‘To Pimp A Butterfly’: Kendrick Lamar shares history | Grammy