Before Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus linked up for To Pimp a Butterfly‘s opening track “Wesley’s Theory,” the Compton rapper and Los Angeles beatmaker collaborated on “Never Catch Me,” a highlight off Flying Lotus’ 2014 LP You’re Dead!. The producer born Steven Ellison interviewed Lamar for his BBC Radio 1 show, and during the rapper’s visit, Flying Lotus unveiled the still-unreleased remix for You’re Dead!‘s “Eyes Above,” featuring an unheard verse by Lamar. Check out Kendrick’s contribution (via Complex):
Speaking to Rolling Stone in the months before You’re Dead arrived – and over eight months before To Pimp a Butterfly‘s release – Ellison talked about working with Lamar. “Kendrick and me, man, we had a special vibe between our chemistry,” Flying Lotus said. “He talked about me contributing to his new album, and I was down with that. I sent him a bunch of stuff and then I asked if he’d do something for my album, and he was super into the concept of my record and really wanted to be part of it. I was just flattered.
“So yeah, it just came about sort of naturally: He came through the crib and recorded it and it was great,” Flying Lotus continued. “The funny part is, though, that he wanted to keep that shit for his album. When I first sent him the track, he was trying to convince me to give it to him. Like, ‘Nah, man, I need that!'”
While Flying Lotus only contributed one production to To Pimp a Butterfly, his friendship with Lamar also opened the door for Ellison’s protégé and bassist Thundercat to take on a huge role for the rapper’s acclaimed LP. During Flying Lotus’ BBC Radio 1 block with Lamar, Ellison spun some Thundercat records, plus some Sa-Ra (the hip-hop group Lamar and Thundercat initially bonded over) and plenty of Parliament and Funkadelic, as both George Clinton outfits were a huge influence on Lamar during the making of To Pimp a Butterfly. Clinton also appeared on the FlyLo-produced “Wesley’s Theory.”
Listen to Flying Lotus’ whole DJ block and Lamar interview over at BBC 1 Radio.