With the production, songwriting, and vocal credits on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly including more than 70 people besides the man himself, fans and journalists are still making sense of who did what and where on the tracklist.
Speaking with HipHopDX’s Justin Hunte, producer Taz Arnold, one-third of Los Angeles-based trio Sa-Ra, detailed his contributions to Lamar’s critically acclaimed third album. Arnold had a hand in the production of three songs on the To Pimp A Butterfly tracklist, specifically, “u,” “For Sale? (Interlude),” and “Momma.” In his sitdown with DX Taz explained how he built up “For Sale” with bassist and frequent Flying Lotus collaborator Thundercat.
“An analog drum machine,” Arnold said of the main piece of equipment used on “For Sale?” “I don’t know if I have it here right now. Kind of like, you see that thing at the top there, on the upper-right hand corner? Something like that. It was a drum machine and my vocal because I like to write songs like improvisational. So I had the drum machine, I sang the parts and then later on I had my buddy Thundercat play bass. And then, maybe like a year later I was like, ‘Alright, I’m ready to produce this song now.’ I was like, ‘I know what I wanna do.’ But the song was already crazy just with the drums, the bass, and the vocals.”
Recalling his direct experience recording parts of the album with Kendrick Lamar, Arnold said, “He’s ill man.”
“He directs people,” he added. “He writes his own material to a whole other level. He writes your material. He’s like, ‘Can you say these parts?’ He’s quite—he’s good to work in the studio. I was very impressed with his acumen and his skill set.”