Kendrick Lamar details manger Dave Free’s influence during an interview with Forbes, which features the TDE executive in its 30 Under 30 list.

“It’s more like working with a brother that just so happened to love what I do, too,” Lamar says of Free. “So when you put these two individuals into creative spaces, it’s a different type of chemistry. It’s a different type of bond. It’s a bond that really can’t be broken … whether it’s in the studio or behind the camera. It’s like Voltron.”

Free and Lamar met in high school. Free worked as a computer technician after graduating and also kept working with Lamar.

After getting a call to repair the computer of TDE founder Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, Free used the time with Top Dawg to play him Lamar’s music.

Impressed, Tiffith signed Lamar to the label and named Free president of TDE. Free says the subsequent TDE/Aftermath/Interscope deal didn’t drastically alter Lamar’s approach.

“When we came in, he already had music,” Free says of Lamar. “He already had ideas.”

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