Kid Capri Talks Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.,’ Hints At More to Come
"It's about to get crazy with that dude, man."
For a brief moment early on in Kendrick Lamar’s new album, DAMN. sounds like a party. After “DNA” comes roaring in on the shoulders of Mike Will Made-It’s compounding 808s, and “Yah” saunters out the drunken, woozy way it came in, a familiar voice is heard at the top of “Element,” seconds before the Sounwave and James Blake-produced drums kick in.
“New Kung Fu Kenny!” alerts the legendary DJ Kid Capri, apparently handling master of ceremonies duties for the occasion. “Ain’t nobody praying for me! Y’all know what happens on earth stays on earth. Here we go!” Kendrick’s voice cuts in, assisted by Capri’s scratches, rapping, “I don’t give a fuck” repeatedly.
And that isn’t Capri’s only appearance on the album. “Another world premiere!” he screams during the opening melody of “Love.” His unmistakable scratches open up the following track, “XXX,” as well. MASS APPEAL caught up with Capri, who refers to his role on DAMN. as “narrator,” to talk about what it was like to lock in with Kendrick, his potential role on K. Dot’s upcoming tour, and how “crazy” it’s about to get with Kung Fu Kenny in short order.
How did the collaboration come about? What was that conversation like?
[TDE] reached out to me, and asked me if I could come meet up with Kendrick. So we sat down and we figured it out. I came to the studio and recorded a lot of stuff, they took what they wanted, placed it where they needed to place it. I think they’ve got some more stuff—there are some more things—coming out later, but for right now, that’s what happened.
I didn’t even hear the album, I didn’t want to hear anything until it was done. So when I heard it last night, that was my first time just like it was yours. And my phone hasn’t stopped ringing yet, man, it’s crazy.
You said you went to the studio and recorded a lot of stuff, only some of which made it onto the project. Do you think the leftover vocals will be used?
Yes, absolutely. There’s a gang of stuff that hasn’t been used yet. That’s why I said I think he’s doing something later on, or he might be doing something for his show, but there’s a lot of stuff that I put out there.
When did you record the material for DAMN.?
About two, three months ago. Something like that.
So, now that you’ve sat and listened to the album. What’s your reaction to it and your role on it?
Incredible album. And the fact that he didn’t overdo it with me, but made me the narrator of the album, I thought that was brilliant for two reasons. One, it shows the authenticity. But it also brings another level of bringing East coast and West coast together. One of the records I did with Slick Rick and Snoop Dogg, “Unify,” on my last album Soundtrack to the Streets, was the same kind of concept. So, you know, that thing he said that last time with the whole “king of New York” thing, I think it helps level that out.
And it’s good for hip hop as a whole. My whole career’s been about advancing the DJ and making the DJ look more like an artist than just somebody playing records—you know, the caliber of producer that’s always going crazy on stage with the art. So to see this happen, it just shows that the progression of the business is a beautiful thing. And it’s acknowledged. All the younger DJs and the ones that came after, they all know that this is something that came from the ground up. Nobody cared at one point. We’re worldwide with it. Look at Khaled, look at how everything is going. It’s doing good.
Did Kendrick talk to you about any specific records of yours that had inspired him, or that he was into throughout his lifetime?
You know, we didn’t really talk about music or business or anything else. When we were together, we talked about everything, and different music-related things, but we didn’t talk about each other’s records. But we did talk about a lot.
Being that he was doing this album, and the album is really based on God, I started sending him these prayer quotes. I would send him a prayer quote everyday to get him inspired to do the rest of the album. And every other day he would hit me like, ‘This really inspired me man, that thing you sent.’ So you know, I knew it was working for him. And I hope it did something for him. But it’s just the beginning. He only dropped “Humble.,” and then he dropped the album. He’s got—it’s about to get crazy with that dude man. We talked about doing the tour. If he goes on tour I might go out with him. We talked about all that, so we’re going to see what happens.