Kendrick Lamar Talks Prince, Taylor Swift, & Dr. Dre on ‘Howard Stern’

Hot off his seven Grammy nominations, Kendrick Lamar stopped by “The Howard Stern Show” on SiriusXM this week. During the rare interview, the DAMN. MC reflected on collaborating with three megastars—Dr. Dre, Taylor Swift, and the late Prince.

He revealed that the Purple One was interested in “Complexion (A Zulu Love),” which later appeared on To Pimp a Butterfly, but the collaboration was never actually recorded. “I played him a record on there called ‘Complexion,’” said Kendrick. “It’s just one of my favorite moments. He liked the record.”

They met at Prince’s Paisley Park estate, where he also performed earlier in the day. “I didn’t even know I was coming out on stage,” said K-Dot. “I’m up there freestyling, and it just turned into something else. I totally forgot about the song after that.”

While the Prince collaboration never came to fruition, his collaboration with Taylor Swift did. The two topped the charts with 2015’s “Bad Blood (Remix).” Despite their different backgrounds, K-Dot said the music brought them together.

“The No. 1 thing we talk about is, how does the music sound? I’m a hip-hop artist. How far in the pop world is the sound? First thing is, let’s hear the music ’cause the music is gonna dictate the concept on where can we take this.”

They hit the studio together in L.A. to record the song. “With this particular record, it was just me vibing and catching her lyrics,” he said. “I didn’t want to get into her head too crazy. I just wanted to have my own inspiration and see where it took it.”

The “HUMBLE.” rapper also recalled the first time he spoke to his mentor Dr. Dre. He was eating at Chili’s during a stop on Tech N9ne’s tour when he got the life-changing call. “I was in tour with my brother Jay Rock. I was his hype man,” said Kendrick. “We was eating at Chili’s and we got a call like, ‘Yo, Dr. Dre likes your music.’”