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Thundercat & Kamasi Washington Discuss J Dilla, Kendrick Lamar In New Interview

Listening to two artists talk about music (both their own and their contributions to others) is, for the most part, often entertaining and information — and this conversation between Kamasi Washington and Thundercat is no exception.

The chat (courtesy of the Talkhouse) was recorded during this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, and finds the virtuosic musicians discussing everything from growing up and playing music together to working with Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar. Both served as session musicians on Lamar’s commercially and critically acclaimed album To Pimp A Butterfly, with Thundercat and Washington playing bass and tenor saxophone respectively.

On being allowed to fully express themselves on TPAB, Washington said:

“When I came into Kendrick’s sessions, that was different! Like, we’d played sessions for Snoop, we did sessions for Puffy and we did sessions for Quincy Jones — we’d played on all these different things. Normally, we’d come in and I’m like, my friends are on the record, I already know that, and they have hidden themselves into the music in a way that you would never know it was them…and so I come in to hear [Kendrick’s] music and I’m like, that’s full-fledged Stephen [Thundercat] right there! He ain’t hiding! That’s a whole full fledged chunk…we’d been hiding on records for decades and all of a sudden it was like, now we get to be ourselves!”

Thundercat also offered a little anecdote on talking to J Dilla prior to his death. The iconic producer wanted to make some music with the Los Angeles bassist, which Thundercat saw as a foreshadowing of a shift in music production.

“There was a moment for me where I knew things were changing [in music production] when, right before J Dilla died, I remember having a conversation with him when he was on his way to Brazil and the conversation was, ‘When I get back to LA, me and you gonna sit down and work!’”

A collaborative album between Jay Dee and Thundercat would’ve been incredible and completely up the latter’s alley (FlyLo’s You’re Dead! immediately comes to mind), but unfortunately we’ll never get that. But it’s nice to know the two wanted to work together.

Check out the interview below.

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