Kendrick Lamar‘s long-serving engineer Derek “MixedByAli” Ali has detailed in a new interview the rapper’s productivity and desire to achieve perfection in his recordings, estimating that “six albums” could be made from Lamar’s unreleased material.
Ali was speaking to NBA star Kevin Durant and his co-host Eddie Gonzalez on the latest episode of the podcast The ETCs when he was asked about working with Lamar.
Ali, who has worked with the Compton rapper on each one of his solo albums since 2012’s ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City’, said that much of what Lamar records during his sessions ends up on the cutting room floor in his personal quest for perfection — so much so that there could be up to “six albums” worth of unreleased Lamar material.
“For Kendrick alone, let me say I think we could put together like six albums,” Ali explained (you can hear this part of the conversation at the 34-minute mark below). “Everyone [at TDE, Lamar’s label] is the same way: it’s all about just understanding that you could always do something better. It’s having that mindset to just strive for the best possible version of you.
“That’s Kendrick’s whole mind state, always striving to do better. Whether it’s recording a new verse — you know he would record a whole song and get one ad-lib back a month later because he don’t like how he breathed the ad-lib, y’know?
“He’s a true artist,” Ali added.
The wait for new music from Lamar goes on, with the rapper last releasing a solo studio album in April 2017 with ‘DAMN’.
Lamar addressed the substantial gaps between his solo album releases in a recent interview as he admitted that he can “spend the whole year just thinking about how I’m gonna execute a new sound. I can’t do the same thing over and over.”