Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp a Butterfly has been a commercial and critical success, but he almost added one more iconic voice to the final product. In an interview with Hot 97, Lamar revealed that he recorded with Prince, but was “pressed for time” around the new album.
Lamar and Prince worked together at the legendary singer’s Minnesota headquarters, where the pair also played a show for a Yahoo livestream. Though their collaboration didn’t make the final cut, Lamar was just happy to be able to spend time with the revolutionary performer. “I didn’t trip over getting a song done. I really appreciate the actual game he was giving me,” said the rapper. “He took control of his music.”
Though Lamar was coy about the exact advice the “mysterious, mystique man” gave him, he did give a sense of the wisdom the singer shared. “He was breaking down some things that I need to consider in my career,” he said. “What [Jay Z] is doing is just confirmation from what Prince was telling me.”
His mention of Jay Z followed an earlier conversation with the Hot 97 hosts about his thoughts on the new streaming service Tidal, since Lamar confirmed a collaborative album with one of its owners, J. Cole. Lamar praised the new streaming service even though his mentor Dr. Dre runs its competitor Beats Music. Still, he did not shut down the possibility of making his music available through the artist-owned service.
Like To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar did not shy away from the topic of race in the new interview. When asked about his controversial comments to Billboard that insinuated he was victim-blaming slain teen Michael Brown, Lamar stood by his comments. “For them to take my words out of context, I forgive them,” said Lamar about his critics. “I speak for self first. When I say respect, I still deal with that. Just because I’m in the limelight doesn’t mean I don’t have animosity towards this gang over here when they just killed two of my homeboys on tour, and I gotta get a call that say ‘Yeah, that’s who did it.’ I still feel that energy. I still feel that hatred.”
He ended his thoughts with a request to not take his words out of context. “I’m the only one — if not the only one, there’s a few more out there — that’s really speaking from the streets and from every urban neighborhood in the world. I forgive you.”
Lamar’s second major label album is currently at the top of the Billboard 200 for a second straight week.