Kendrick Lamar

Ten Albums of 2016 That Made Life Sweeter

Blessed we are for the music albums of 2016 that made this life feel a whole lot sweeter. Thankful are we to the artists who created those albums. Some, like Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered, came quickly after his last and were released unexpectedly. Other albums like De La Soul’s and the Anonymous Nobody, and The Diary Of from dearly-departed legend J Dilla, were an insanely-long time in coming.

Below are sample tracks from ten albums of 2016 that likely brought happiness to lovers of jazz, hip hop, R&B and reggae music. All can be found in hard copy and added to your Forever-After Music Collection if you haven’t already done so- including in their most supreme format, on sweet sweet vinyl.

1. Anderson .Paak- Malibu

Anderson Paak - Malibu

“Heart Don’t Stand A Chance”

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2. BADBADNOTGOOD- IV

Badbadnotgood - IV (2016)

“And That, Too”

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Hear more tracks from IV and watch video footage of  BADBADNOTGOOD performing live here

3. De La Soul- and the Anonymous Nobody

De La Soul - and the Anonymous Nobody

“Drawn” featuring Little Dragon

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Find more tracks from and the Anonymous Nobody here.

4. J Dilla- The Diary Of

J Dilla - The Diary Of

“The Ex” featuring Bilal

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5. Kaytranada- 99.9%

Kaytranada - 99.9%

“Breakdance Lesson N.1”

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6. Kendrick Lamar- untitled unmastered

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered

“untitled 08 09.06.2014”

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Check out live concert footage of Kendrick Lamar performing at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016 here.

7. Michael Kiwanuka- Love And Hate

Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate

“Cold Little Heart”

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Find more tracks from Love & Hate here.

8. Miles Davis and Robert Glasper- Everything’s Beautiful

Miles Davis and Robert Glasper - Everything's Beautiful

“Right On Brotha”  featuring Stevie Wonder

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Find more tracks from Everything’s Beautiful here.

9. NxWorries- Yes Lawd!

NX Worries - Yes Lawd!

“Khadijah”

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10. Stephen “Ragga” MarleyRevelation Pt. II: The Fruit Of Life

Stephen Marley - Revelation Pt. 2 - The Fruit of Life

“Scars On My Feet” featuring Waka Flocka

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Find more tracks from Revelation Pt. II: The Fruit Of Life here.

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Blessed will we continue to be in 2017 for the existence of those ten albums in our music collections – as well as all new musical delights coming our way this year. Thanks to all artists worldwide who create, record and play music for us live. Life could be unbearable without them, and hopefully we never have to find out.

Kendrick Lamar live concert 2016

Kendrick Lamar live at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016

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Bluesfest 2016 – Embracing Contemporary Hip Hop, Soul & Jazz Of The Highest Order

Blessed be lovers of innovative contemporary hip hop, R&B, funk and jazz music for the gift of consecutive live performances by Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, Kamasi Washington and Hiatus Kaiyote on the one stage at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016.

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert - Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016

Hiatus Kaiyote

Kamasi Washington live concert 2016

Kamasi Washington

Kendrick Lamar live concert - Bluesfest 2016 - Australia

Kendrick Lamar

D'Angelo And The Vanguard concert 2016

D’Angelo

If you’re one of those music lovers you’ll know that every single one of the many musicians and vocalists who performed on stage with those artists on Thursday and Saturday nights (minus Kendrick Lamar on Saturday) are amongst the most skilful, talented and innovative creators of funkified jazz and soul music in the world right now. Having been influenced by and collaborating on each others’ music projects, all of them were in perfect company together on the main stage. And anyone lucky enough to be there would have found themselves in musical heaven – mesmerised by each and every sublime sound delivered by those artists.

Hiatus Kaiyote

As musical creators Melbourne’s “future-soul” group Hiatus Kaiyote earned their place on a bill with Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, Kamasi Washington and their accompanying artists. As live instrumentalists, vocalists and performers on stage in the flesh at Bluesfest, Hiatus Kayote undoubtedly demonstrated their rightful place amongst them to audiences made up of both punters and those contemporary music peers alike.

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert - Australia 2016

Hiatus Kaiyote at Bluesfest 2016

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As well as delivering a welcome acknowledgment of the passing of the great hip hop creator Phife Dawg during their Thursday set, Nai Palm (vocals/guitars/keys), Simon Mavin (keys/samples), Paul Bender (bass), Perrin Moss (drums) and their three background vocalists delivered two stunning sets of songs drawn mainly from Choose Your Weapon and including a new song on the video below, and as always; showed audiences their unique “multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic gangster” sound is at its most supreme when heard live.

Kamasi Washington

The inclusion of L.A-based saxophonist Kamasi Washington in the 2016 line-up was a welcome surprise after the cancellation of his first visit to Australia last year when Soulfest folded at the last minute.

Kamasi Washington live concert - Bluesfest 2016 Australia

Kamasi Washington at Bluesfest 2016

Each Bluesfest show Kamasi Washington performed with The Next Step / West Coast Get Down sounded unique. But both were definitely a family affair; a collective affair; and a humble and respectful one. Parts of Kamasi Washington’s recent jazz masterpiece The Epic were performed as well as some new music by him. But this was not a one-man Kamasi Washington show. It was a showcase of the sublime funkified jazz music and skills of all the incredible artists on stage with him who grew up playing music together. Everyone had their moments to shine during the sets and when it wasn’t their turn they listened, enjoyed, and appreciated what they heard from one other.

Ryan Porter and Kamasi Washington live concert 016

Ryan Porter w/ Kamasi Washington

Audiences were treated to the sounds of Kamasi Washington playing with his father Ricky Washington (who “taught him everything he knows”) on flute and with Ryan Porter (“one of his mentors”) on trombone; drum solos and drum-offs between Ronald Bruner Jr and Tony Austin; a jam between Kamasi Washington and Ronald Bruner Jr (“like they’ve being doing together since he got his first drum-kit at 3 years old”); a must-hear song “Abraham”  about to be released by double-bass player/vocalist Miles Mosley, and another from keyboardist Brandon Coleman; with vocals by Patrice Quinn (“the most beautiful voice he’s heard”).

Brandon Coleman live concert Australia 2016

Brandon Coleman

Miles Mosley live concert - Bluesfest 2016 Australia

Miles Mosley

Kamasi Washington & Ricky Washington live concert 2016

Ricky & Kamasi Washington

Ronald Bruner Jr live concert 2016

Ronald Bruner Jr

Tony Austin live concert Australia 2016

Tony Austin

Patrice Quinn live Australia 2016

Patrice Quinn

Kamasi Washington and the other artists who joined him on Australian stages undoubtedly gained a huge number of new admirers. Hopefully that brings any or all of them back again to play soon.

Check out snippets of video footage from Kamasi Washington’s two Bluesfest 2016 shows below and hear sample tracks from The Epic (2015) here.




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D’Angelo And The Vanguard

Accompanying D’Angelo at his Bluesfest shows were Jesse Johnson and Isaiah Sharkey on guitars, Chris “Daddy” Dave on drums, Rocco Palladino on bass, Bobby Ray Sparks on keys/samples and Jermaine Holmes and Charles “Red” Middleton on background vocals.

D'Angelo & Jesse Johnson live - Bluesfest 2016

D’Angelo & Jesse Johnson at Bluesfest 2016

Despite a curious set list taking audiences back to the glorious D’Angelo eras of Brown Sugar and Voodoowith only glimpses of the more recent ground-breaking album Black Messiah, D’Angelo and the 7 sublimely-skilled musicians and vocalists with him on stage delivered delightfully funky, soulful, rocked-out performances that were technically flawless.

D'Angelo concert - Bluesfest 2016, Australia

D’Angelo himself dazzled and seduced the crowd with his skills and artistry on guitar and piano, his contagiously-huge smile and his other-wordly vocal range. He left no doubt that he’s a musician, artist and performer of extraordinary genius in contemporary times, akin to the most legendary of funk, R&B and rock greats of our musical history.

D'Angelo concert - Bluesfest 2016, Australia

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Check out a video of the grammy-award winning Black Messiah song “Really Love”, performed live at Bluesfest on Saturday.


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Click here for more videos & photos from all 4 of D’Angelo’s Australian shows this time around.

Kendrick Lamar

Thankfully Bluesfest ignored any naysayers who questioned Kendrick Lamar headlining a festival that might have started as “blues and roots” 27 years ago – but long ago moved forward to expand it’s line-up for the musical good of the broader population.

Before Kendrick Lamar’s set I wondered how the complex musical wonder of To Pimp A Butterfly would translate in the live arena. But the Compton rapper brought a killer band on tour with him. That live instrumentation combined with the sharp and clear lyrical flow delivered by Kendrick Lamar with 100% passion and conviction, simply commanded attention and awe through every moment of the 75 minute set that flew by in a flash. From start to finish Kendrick Lamar made it abundantly clear that the experience of hearing his music performed live is profoundly more brilliant than the studio-version.

Kendrick Lamar live concert - Bluesfest 2016 - Australia

Kendrick Lamar at Bluesfest 2016

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Check out these video snippets from Kendrick Lamar’s Bluesfest show plus a sample track below from the newly-released album untitled unmastered (2016).

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered (2016)x
Kendrick Lamar – untitled 02 | 06.23.2014 – untitled unmastered (2016)

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Bluesfest Appreciation

Byron Bay Bluesfest – this year was a dream.

In my book Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, The Vanguard, Kamasi Washington, The Next Step, West Coast Get Down and Hiatus Kaiyote are the artists in the world right now creating the freshest sounding, most innovative blends of funk, soul, R&B, hip hop and jazz. All except Hiatus Kaiyote (Melbourne-based), Bluesfest brought those artists a long way to deliver spectacular live performances on Australian shores.  In doing so they filled a big gap left by the cancellation of Soulfest – “Australia’s first annual neo-soul, jazz & hip hop festival” which didn’t make it to its second year.

Thanks go to Bluesfest for embracing those contemporary artists and delivering the most blessed of line-ups in 2016!

D'Angelo concert Australia 2016

D’Angelo

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert Australia 2016

Hiatus Kaiyote

Kendrick Lamar live concert - Bluesfest 2016 - Australia

Kendrick Lamar

Kamasi Washington live concert 2016

Kamasi Washington

Note: Despite feeling 100% satisfied by my Bluesfest 2016 experience, it was a limited one for sure. I went for 2 of 5 festival days, stayed at 1 of 6 festival stages and heard only 4 of 82 acts on the bill. A whole other world of music was happening over the five festival days – from Tom Jones to Allen Stone through to The Wailers – and a range of performing indigenous artists at the festival within the festival- Boomerang. I just can’t tell you about them here.

But you can check in to Beaver on the Beats on Facebook for more festival photos coming of D’Angelo, Hiatus Kaiyote, Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington. 🙂

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Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly: The Art Of Music In 2015

With each passing year of life the rarer it seems I hear new music that sounds truly fresh and innovative to me; new music that makes me feel excited about the art of music and its contemporary evolution. Lots of new albums were released in 2015. Only three spring to mind that gave me that excitement.

One was Hiatus Kaiyote’s Choose Your Weapon. The second was The Epic by Kamasi Washington.

Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon (2015)

Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon (2015)

Kamasi Washington - The Epic (2015)

Kamasi Washington – The Epic (2015)

Finally for 2015, the album that got me the most excited, was Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

Knock yourself out reading and watching the countless reviews and opinions on To Pimp A Butterfly published throughout the world this past year. All that matters is this: The Compton rapper and dozens of his equally brilliant musical collaborators succeeded in sampling, revamping and creating anew the super-tastiest sounds of soul, jazz and funk wrapped in a hip hop masterpiece beyond compare in 2015. And if you haven’t already, get your hands on To Pimp A Butterfly in its most sublime format (vinyl of course) to hear and take pleasure in all its sonic intricacies for forever-after.

Folks who choose to buy their music digitally or take it for free; who don’t see the full album credits unless they go looking on-line and mightn’t know which artists created To Pimp A Butterfly’s 16 magnificent tracks other than Kendrick Lamar and listed “feature” artists…take the time to learn now. Their names matter. All of them are stunning contemporary artists in their own rights – and collectively they and Kendrick Duckworth Lamar made magic with To Pimp A Butterfly.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

Kendrick Lamar feat. George Clinton & Thundercat – “Wesley’s Theory”

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“Wesley’s Theory” written by Kendrick Duckworth, George Clinton, Steven Ellison, Ronald Colson, Stephen Bruner & Boris Gardiner; Produced by Flying Lotus & Ronald “Flippa” Colson; Additional Production by Sounwave & Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali & James “The White Black Man” Hunt; Mixed by MixedByAli; Horns & Alto Saxophone- Terrace Martin; Trumpet- Josef Leimberg; Background Vocals- Dr. Dre, Anna Wise, Ash Riser, Josef Leimberg & Whitney Alford. Contains elements of “Every Nigger Is a Star” by Boris Gardiner.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

Kendrick Lamar – “You Aint Gotta Lie (Momma Said)”

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“You Aint Gotta Lie (Momma Said)” written by Kendrick Duckworth, Terrace Martin, Rose McKinney, Josef Leimberg & Mark Spears; Produced by LoveDragon; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, James “The White Black Man” Hunt & Matt Schaeffer; Mixed by MixedByAli; Keyboards- Sounwave & Terrace Martin; Alto Saxophone/Vocoder- Terrace Martin; Trumpet- Josef Leimberg; Percussion- Larrance Dopson; Guitar- Marlon Williams; Background Vocals- Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, Preston Harris, Wyann Vaughn & JaVonte.

“For Free? (Interlude)”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Terrace Martin & Rose McKinney; Produced by Terrace Martin; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali & James “The White Black Man” Hunt; Mixed by MixedByAli; Drums- Robert Sput Searight; Piano- Robert Glasper; Bass- Brandon Owens; Organ- Craig Brockman; Guitar- Marlon Williams; Alto Saxophone- Terrace Martin; Background Vocals- Anna Wise & Darlene Tibbs.

“King Kunta”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Spears, Johnny Burns, Michael Jackson, Ahmad Lewis, Stefan Gordy & D. Blake; Produced by Sounwave; Additional Production by Terrace Martin; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, James “The White Black Man” Hunt & Matt Schaeffer; Mixed by MixedByAli; Bass- Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner; Additional Guitar- Marlon Williams & Matt Schaeffer; Background Vocals- Whitney Alford.

“King Kunta” contains: interpolations of “Get Nekkid” by Johnny Burns & D. Blake; resung lyrics from “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson; elements from “The Payback” by James Brown/Fred Wesley/J.Stark and from “We Want the Funk” by A. Lewis & S. Gordy.

“Institutionalized” feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Snoop Dogg

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Columbus Smith & Fredrik Halldin; Produced by Rahki & Fredrik “Tommy Black” Halldin; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali & James “The White Black Man” Hunt; Mixed by MixedByAli; Keyboards- Sam Barsh; Clarinet- Pedro Castro; Cello- Gabriel Noel; Violin- Paul Cartwright; Background Vocals- Taz Arnold a.k.a. Ti$a.

“These Walls” feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Terrace Martin, Larrance Dopson, James Fauntleroy & Rose McKinney; Produced by Terrace Martin & Larrance Dopson of 1500 or Nothin’; Additional Production by Sounwave; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali & James “The White Black Man” Hunt; Mixed by MixedByAli; Guitar- Marlon Williams & Gregory Moore; Keyboards- Robert Glasper, Larrance Dopson & Terrace Martin; Percussion- Larrance Dopson; Alto Saxophone- Terrace Martin; Trumpet- Josef Leimberg; Additional Bass- Thundercat.

“u”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Taz Arnold & Michael Brown; Produced by Taz Arnold a.k.a. Ti$a & WhoAreI; Additional Production by Sounwave; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali & Matt Schaeffer; Mixed by MixedByAli; Alto Saxophone/Keyboards- Terrace Martin; Tenor Saxophone- Kamasi Washington; Baritone Saxophone- Adam Turchin; Guitar- Marlon Williams; Background Vocals- Bilal, Jessica Vielmas & SZA.

“Alright”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Pharrell Williams & Mark Spears; Produced by Pharrell Williams & Sounwave; Recorded by James “The White Black Man” Hunt; Mixed by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali; Alto Saxophone- Terrace Martin; Background Vocals- Pharrell Williams, Candace Wakefield & Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner.

“For Sale? (Interlude)”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth & Taz Arnold; Produced by Taz Arnold a.k.a. Ti$a; Additional Production by Sounwave & Terrace Martin; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali; Mixed by MixedByAli; Alto Saxophone/Keyboards- Terrace Martin; Trumpet- Josef Leimberg; Background Vocals- Bilal, Ti$a, Preston Harris & SZA.

“Momma”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Glen Boothe, Taz Arnold, Sylvester Stewart, Lalah Hathaway, Rahsaan Patterson & Rex Rideout; Produced by Knxwledge & Taz Arnold a.k.a. Ti$a; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali & James “The White Black Man” Hunt; Mixed by MixedByAli; Alto Saxophone/Keyboards/Vocoder- Terrace Martin; Background Vocals- Lalah Hathaway & Bilal.

“Momma” contains elements of “Wishful Thinkin” by S. Stewart as performed by Sly & The Family Stone, ”On Your Own” written by Lalah Hathaway, R. Patterson, & R. Rideout; samples from “On Your Own” performed by Lalah Hathaway, from the album Self Portrait.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

“Hood Politics”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Donte Perkins, Mark Spears, Stephen Bruner & S. Stevens; Produced by Tae Beast, Sounwave & Thundercat; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali & James “The White Black Man” Hunt; Mixed by MixedByAli; Keyboards- Terrace Martin & Robert Sput Searight; Background Vocals-  Bilal, Anna Wise, Preston Harris & Dion Friley. “Hood Politics” includes sample of “All for Myself” (S. Stevens).

“How Much a Dollar Cost” feat. James Fauntleroy  & Ronald Isley

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Terrace Martin, Josef Leimberg, Rose McKinney, James Fauntleroy & Ronald Isley; Produced by LoveDragon; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, James “The White Black Man” Hunt & Matt Schaeffer; Mixed by MixedByAli; Alto Saxophone/Keyboards- Terrace Martin; Trumpet- Josef Leimberg; Percussion- Larrance Dopson; Guitar- Marlon Williams; Ronald Isley’s verse recorded by Thomas Burns.

“Complexion (A Zulu Love)” feat. Rapsody

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Stephen Bruner, Mark Spears & Marlanna Evans; Produced by Thundercat & Sounwave; Additional Production- Terrace Martin & Antydote; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali & Matt Schaeffer; Mixed by MixedByAli; Keyboards- Terrace Martin & Robert Glasper; Alto Saxophone- Terrace Martin; Trumpet- Josef Leimberg; Percussion- Larrance Dopson; Background Vocals- Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, Lalah Hathaway, Talkbox Monte & JaVonte; Background Vocals/Scratches- Pete Rock; Rapsody’s verse recorded by 9th Wonder.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

“The Blacker the Berry”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Matthew Samuels, Stephen Kozmeniuk, Ken Lewis, Brent Kolatalo, Jefferey Campbell, Alexander Izquierdo & Zale Epstein; Produced by Boi-1da & Koz; Additional Production- Terrace Martin; Additional Drum Programming & Additional Engineering- Katalyst; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, James “The White Black Man” Hunt & Matt Schaeffer; Mixed by MixedByAli; Drums- Ronald Bruner Jr; Keyboards- Robert Glasper; Bass- Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner; Alto Saxophone- Terrace Martin; Percussion- Larrance Dopson; Background Vocals- Lalah Hathaway.

“i”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Columbus Smith, Ronald Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Rudolph Isley & Christopher Jasper; Produced by Rahki; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, James “The White Black Man” Hunt & Matt Schaeffer; Mixed by MixedByAli; Mix Assistants- The White Black Man & Matt Schaeffer; Keyboards- Sam Barsh; Guitar- Keith Askey; Drums- Kendall Lewis; Bass- Chris Smith & Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner; Percussion- Rahki; Background Vocals- Taz Arnold a.k.a. Ti$a, William Swept, Candace Wakefield, Devon Downing, Edwin Orellana, Dave Free & Dion Friley; Additional Vocals- Ronald Isley, recorded by Thomas Burns. “i” contains portions of “That Lady” by Ronald Isley, Christopher Jasper, O’Kelly Isley, Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley & Rudolph Isley.

“Mortal Man”

Written by Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Spears, Stephen Bruner & F. Anikulapo; Produced by Sounwave; Recorded by Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, James “The White Black Man” Hunt & Matt Schaeffer; Mixed by MixedByAli; Bass- Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner; Keyboards- Robert Glasper & Junius Bervine; Guitar- Marlon Williams; Alto Saxophone- Terrace Martin; Trumpet- Josef Leimberg & Ambrose Akinmusire; Background vocals- James Fauntleroy & JaVonte; String Arrangements by Kamasi Washington, Sounwave & Terrace Martin.

“Mortal Man” contains: elements of “I No Get Eye for Back” by F. Anikulapo  and excerpts from “I No Get Eye for Back” as performed by Houston Person; features parts from the music journalist Mats Nileskar’s 2Pac Shakur interview in New York, November 1994.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

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