Separating himself from others who wear the hats of both producer and emcee, Terrace Martin’s work as a saxophonist has made him into one of the West Coast’s most in demand sensations. Gifted since childhood, his strong working relationships fostered with California’s Rap legends and thriving newcomers have given him a greater platform than one could expect for a Jazz musician within Hip Hop. A common link between many acts to perform, Terrace graciously took time to speak with HipHopDX at this year’s Paid Dues Festival regarding his history as one of the game’s best kept secrets.
The visionary responsible for “Real” as well as portions of “The Art Of Peer Pressure” and “m.A.A.d city” from Kendrick Lamar’s recent major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, Terrace Martin says the road to glory hasn’t been fast. “I’ve been working with TDE for like 10 or 11 years now since we all started getting our thing together and really putting our craft down trying to put out good music.” Having watched Black Hippy’s hard work pay off in spades and bring new light to Los Angeles, he states “It’s beautiful right now, Kendrick [Lamar] is the golden boy and because of him winning, we’re winning. We can’t do no wrong right now.”
Training for the limelight since an early age, Terrace Martin befriended the Grammy Award-winning Robert Glasper at Jazz camp as a teenager, the two maintaining a working relationship to this day with Terrace saying “That’s one of my closest friends in the world.” Another producer on his soulful wavelength that he’s found professional chemistry with has been North Carolina’s 9th Wonder, the two collaborating on his forthcoming effort 3 Chord Fold as well as 9th’s last solo album, The Wonder Years. “9th [Wonder] is awesome, he has the energy of Pete Rock and [DJ Premier] but he got some other shit going on.” He continues, “9th Wonder’s music makes you dance, it’s how we all grew up loving music. Not from an intellectual standpoint, but from a heartfelt standpoint.”
Though he has worked with the likes of underground vets including Murs and Jean Grae, close followers of Terrace Martin commonly praise him as a member of the inner circle comprised of Kurupt, fellow producer Battlecat, and the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg. With regards to his friend’s recent creative switch up, he says “Snoop [Lion] is human, we all go through changes and I’ve been riding with him as long as it’s positive and uplifting. Snoop is the first one to give me a shot and he still gives me shots, I support Snoop Lion because that’s what he is now. He’s still the Dogg though.”
As for the near future, long term and newer fans alike can look forward to Terrace Martin’s 3 Chord Fold, scheduled for release this summer. Sticking to the theme of his past projects that have dealt with matters of the heart he ends “It’s music you can make love to and have a clear understanding, whether you’re going through something good or bad from a man’s standpoint.”
RELATED: Terrace Martin Explains Jazz Influence, Kurupt Album [2010 INTERVIEW]