Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio triumph DAMN. featured 14 tracks of ingenious sound, cadence, lyricism, flow, abstraction and storytelling talents — with the assists of only three other gifted artists complementing the brilliance.
Included among them is the very unpredictable and now-celebrated “LOYALTY.,” where the Compton rap prophet met Roc Nation’s Barbadian bad gal Rihanna. But as unexpected as the collaboration was, K-Dot’s trusted co-producer Terrace Martin has shared with The Fader how it all came to be.
Beginning with the actual record, a sample from Bruno Mars’s pop-funk-mastered “24K Magic,” Martin revealed that he received the sampled beat from North Carolina-bred producer, Khrysis. After planning and blueprinting his own tweaks to it for K-Dot’s album, Martin teamed with TDE’s in-house hitmaker Sounwave and DJ Dahi to throw the instrumentals on it. That’s when, Martin said, Kendrick immediately knew who would be perfect for the track.
“’Imma get Rihanna on this,’” Martin recalls K-Dot declaring. “That day. Right when the drums started, he looked at me, saying, ‘Aye, I’m gonna get Rihanna on this record.’”
Martin continued explaining the significance of not only the track’s RiRi assist, but the collaboration with his fellow production partners who were able to bring their individualized sound to the track.
“Collaborating with Dahi and Sounwave was beautiful,” he said. "[Because] I don't believe music should ever be done alone. I don’t believe music is a selfish thing; I don't believe in none of that. I love doing music for other people. So I was welcoming that [because] I love new ideas, and Dahi comes from a whole different direction and Sounwave — that’s my creative [brother]. We been creating together since this s**t started. That’s my personal homeboy. Like, that’s my real friend. You know what I’m saying? We’ve done 12 records together, Grammys together, everything together. Been through the paint together with TDE.”
True loyalty, indeed.
Read Martin's full behind-the-music of "LOYALTY." interview here.
(Photos from left: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for American Express, Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)