The Philadelphia crooner first spoke on the moment he was contacted by Kendrick about working on the album. He says he then linked up with the Compton rapper in both New York City and Los Angeles to put in work in the studio.
“I got a call from Kendrick and we just busted up from there, started talking about it,” Bilal said. “We had been talking about working together for a minute so everything just lined up perfectly…Few months ago. I went out to L.A. and we did some stuff and then I did some stuff out in New York with him. He’s very hands-on with the music so he was there the whole time.”
Bilal, who is featured on two To Pimp A Butterfly tracks and receives credit for several other songs, revealed that Kendrick was eager to have the singer, as well as Thundercat and Anna Wise, on board for “the whole album,” but says he initially didn’t believe the rapper.
“I didn’t really know where it was gonna go, I was just doing stuff in the lab, you know,” the singer said. “I like to work and go for it. So when I spoke to him he was like, ‘Man, I want y’all to be on the whole album.’ I thought he was just…I didn’t know if that actually [was] gonna happen because a lot of people say stuff like that. You know, usually when you do a song you fall in love with every song you do after you finish it.”
Lastly, Bilal was asked about any similarities between working with Kendrick Lamar and working with artists like Common or The Roots. He says there was “an organic connection” with all three artists, but added that Kendrick’s style and approach was different.
“What’s similar about all of them is that there’s always an organic connection; they’re truly involved in every aspect of their music and it’s the same way when I was working with all of those people that you mentioned,” Bilal said. “I was in the studio working with them and from the beginning to the end they were very involved. There’s a certain passion that you can feel with a person who is willing to stay in the studio all day long until the song is done, you know? There’s a certain focus that you can feel. And all of these cats have that. Now, the thing that makes Kendrick different is his style and his approach. His approach is different.”
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