Yesterday, March 3rd, 2016, Kendrick Lamar decided to grant the wishes of millions of fans, and one LeBron James, and release an eight song EP of the To Pimp a Butterfly leftover songs, titled untitled unmastered.
The entire project plays like a look into the creative process of one of the most consciously innovative MC’s of the 21st century. Songs are only identifiable by dates, but no explanation on what those dates signify.
Is it the date of completion or date the idea formed? Or could be the date he ultimately decided to scrap it?
The song "untitled 06 | 06.30.2014" features Kendrick employing his trademarked high-pitched, alien voice while rapping about how “these metamorphic, supernatural forces dominate what I see.”
このUntitled 6は “these metamorphic, supernatural forces dominate what I see.”とラップされ甲高い声が来る。
So when CeeLo Green appeared thirty seconds into the song, matching Kendrick’s animated vocals with some of his own, it sounded more logical than collaborative. CeeLo's beautifully crooning of “am I mortal man or make believe?”
instantly confirms he comes from the same lineage of molding his vocals to fit the emotion of each individual line.
CeeLo Green spoke with HipHopDX about the making of "untitled 06 | 06.30.2014" from Kendrick Lamar’s recent compilation, how Kendrick is making the “blackest music” out now, the youthful energy that has possessed him and much, much more in this extensive interview.
HipHopDX: How did this song start out?
CeeLo Green: Believe it or not, it was something we had worked on while he was working onTo Pimp a Butterfly. I had forgotten about it, I didn’t really know what would become of it.
DX: So how do you and Kendrick link up to work together?
CeeLo Green: We kind of stumbled upon each other by way of another mutual friend we both happened to be working with, Adrian Younge. The only truly exceptional thing about it is the song itself. The way it was done was really organic and natural so there’s it’s not a really big story behind it. In the course of doing a project or multiple projects, you exercise your right to be expressive and compile new material. You really never know what to make of it.
DX: The song is titled “June 30th 2014.” Is that when the song was finished or when Kendrick got the song?
CeeLo Green: I’ll leave some of it to the imagination because I can’t answer intelligibly. I really don’t know. As much as I can recall is the fact that Adrian reached out to me like ‘Yo, Kendrick likes this idea that we did. Do you mind?’ I’m like ‘Of course not.’ This was post-everything that has happened recently. This was almost two years ago.
DX: Did you write the lyrics for your part?
CeeLo Green: I definitely wrote my part. We didn’t do the song together. It was an idea that was available to be embellished upon. Kendrick was attracted to the idea that was. So it was never really a complete song. I’m just as surprised as you because I didn’t hear the complete song until last night.
DX: What’s different from what you heard originally? Did he add anything to the original idea?
CeeLo Green: He kept it pretty intact. He kept it in its original form for the most part. It’s unmixed, it’s unmastered. So, it’s raw. It’s very ironic, because it’s raw and well done at the same time.
DX: That’s the beauty of it. It’s called untitled unmastered. but it sounds better than most albums out this year. In the chorus you mention “mortal man” which was a song on To Pimp a Butterfly. Did you hear the “Mortal Man” song at all before you made the track?
CeeLo Green: That could just be a cool coincidence. The album wasn’t even out yet. It was in the process of recording. I can be definitive in saying it wasn’t a listening session of the material he had amassed for the project. To be honest, it’s even more flattering that it was an idea that was unfinished that he saw potential in. He validated it, by evolving and extending the thought. Expounding upon it.
DX: You and Kendrick have almost parallel careers. You both started out in a group focused heavily on rapping and lyricism. Then ventured into blending genres. From your 20+ years in the game, what do you think of the artist Kendrick Lamar is?
CeeLo Green: I think his innovation is so apparent and so imperative at the moment. I think he is making the blackest music there is at the moment. ‘Black’ meaning infinite possibilities. Black is very ironic. Like the vastness of space. It’s everything and nothing at the same time.