Thundercat doesn’t seem like the type of artist who’s ever been bored in the studio, but one session in particular will always stick out in his mind.
When HipHopDX caught up with the multi-hyphenated musician at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, it took him a few moments to consider which of the many studio sessions he’s been in he could name as his favorite.
But he soon landed on the session of Kendrick Lamar’s “These Walls” from the 2015 album Pimp a butterfly. Thundercat joins Bilal and singer Anna Wise to deliver the hook on the song, which won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Performance.
“My favorite studio session I was in, I have to be honest: that was probably singing ‘These Walls’,” Thundercat said. “And a lot of my friends at the time didn’t know I was singing. And so, my friends were just staring me in the face like, ‘What is he doing right now?’ And I was like, ‘Can you guys leave the room so I can…I don’t want to look into my friends eyes singing about these walls.’
The song’s suggestive chorus includes lyrics like: “If these walls could talk / I like it when I’m there, I like it when I’m there”, between Kendrick’s lines, which are interwoven with metaphors for sex.
“Just look at Terrace [Martin] in the eyes, singing in my highest Michael McDonald voice,” Thundercat recounted. “Terrace smiles like, ‘And those walls, Steven?’ And I’m like, ‘Stop it!’ I couldn’t take a break because the song is going to continue, so I have to keep singing. There’s no break, it’s just continuously me singing these walls and these harmonies.
He continued, “And my friends look down my throat. Don’t look at me like that,” he added with a laugh. “I am an adult, I pay taxes; I have been in jail. Do not do that !
Last year, Kendrick Lamar also revisited the making of Pimp a butterfly and explained that much of the album was born out of creative trial and error.
During an episode of The Big Hit Show podcast, Kendrick opened up about how he and his co-creators managed to blur the line between hip-hop and jazz using a group of Los Angeles-based musicians who had been playing together since high school. As Kendrick notes, there really was no method to the madness. They chose to experiment and basically see what would stick.
“Yeah, I’m just trying stuff, throwing paint on the wall and writing while these amazing musicians are going wild,” he said. “I like that for eight bars. I like that. I like that. So . . . before the album came out, the shit actually seemed a lot more complex.
Before the former TDE star’s latest album Mr. Morale and Big Steps, to which he contributed his bassist skills, Thundercat applauded Kendrick’s creativity and noted that many of his favorite music recording moments involved the “HUMBLE”. rapper.
“I feel like Kendrick is and will be a beacon of what it means to be one of the most creative artists of our generation through the way albums twist and turn,” he said. to Japanese fashion brand Neet Tokyo. “He speaks beyond his years. Him as an artist, he inspired me a lot. A lot.”
Thundercat continued, “I wish I could spend more time creating with him just because he gives off such energy and knows what he wants a lot of time. Some of my favorite recording moments are with Kendrick.