Whereas “Die Exhausting” is Lamar and Blxst’s first direct collaboration, it’s not the primary time that they’ve appeared on a monitor collectively. Again in 2013, Blxst produced Compton rapper Hitta J3’s mixtape The Wake Up Name, which featured a track known as “Do Yo Gudda.” “[Hitta J3] would all the time inform me, ‘Yeah, I do know Kendrick; he from the identical neighborhood; I’m gonna get him on one among my remixes,’” Blxst mentioned. “I am like, yeah, no matter. However he really ended up getting him.” That 2014 remix for “Do Yo Gudda” additionally featured fellow Compton rappers Drawback and YG.
Regardless of the problem of engaged on a high-concept album with out a clear understanding of the particular idea, Blxst discovered that his topic materials was already aligned with Lamar’s imaginative and prescient for the mission. When he heard the ultimate monitor, every thing clicked. “I didn’t know Amanda Reifer was part of it,” he admitted. “However once I heard her vocals, I’m like, ‘This man is a genius.’”
In the meantime, Reifer’s periods had been carried out within the studio with Lamar, who supplied her prompts off of which she might riff. Reifer opens the hook with “shimmy shimmy cocoa puff,” a nod to Little Anthony’s basic 1959 single “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko Bop” that Lamar particularly requested. Blxst additionally discovered Lamar to be extra hands-on than most. “Each step of the method, he was on the cellphone with me, like, ‘Yo, I like this half; take out this half.… Yo, sing this half like this,’” Blxst mentioned.
But, every artist discovered Lamar managed to strike a fragile stability between having a really clear concept of what he needed whereas letting them be themselves. “He’s very open,” Reifer mentioned over Zoom. “He offers loads of area so that you can categorical your self creatively. I used to be like, ‘What’s the vibe of this document?’ I hadn’t heard the entire thing in its entirety, and he doesn’t need to clarify all of what it’s, ? So it was extra about what we getting from the music—the sentiment. And so I’m expressing what I’m feeling from the music, and he’s expressing the issues that he needs included, and all of it merged collectively to be what you’re listening to proper now.”
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