On the contemplative “Father Time,” Kendrick Lamar reflects on his childhood and his relationship with his father: “Everything he didn't want was everything I was.” London-based singer Sampha joins him on the second verse, in which Kendrick reflects on his growth as the man he is today—also as a father himself since 2019, with a newborn shown on the cover art of Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, revealing a family of four. Production duties for "Father Time" are credited to DJ Dahi, Beach Noise, Bekon, Duval Timothy, Sounwave, and Victor Ekpo.
"To me, sampling records is a really dope thing because it's like digging for gold,” DJ Dahi said in an interview with NPR. “You find that nugget, and it's like, 'Oh wow, this is dope! This sounds fresh.’” By scouring the only song by Hoskins 'Ncrowd on Tracklib, the producers of "Father Time" surely found a rare gem. “You’re Not There” appeared on the only 45-inch release by the R&B and soul group around singer Leroy Hopkins. The song was produced by soul singer and Soft Soul Records owner Kenni Jones, who got in touch with music through his father, who sang with Sam Cooke.
“It’s the way you chop a record, the way you get a groove, the way you can rearrange a record... Sampling allows for new ideas, so I still sample.”
“For a while, I stopped sampling,” DJ Dahi told Red Bull Music Academy in 2017. “When I did [Kendrick Lamar’s] “Money Trees,” I realized that you don’t make a lot of money sampling because they’ll take a big part of your publishing and you’re like, ‘Oh shit, I ain’t making no money,’ so I had to find new ways of sampling.”
Enter Tracklib: the sample on "Father Time" was discovered and officially cleared and licensed through Tracklib, to get fair shares into both the producers' pockets and to the original rightsholders.
"We Cry Together" is a song in the form of an argument between Kendrick Lamar and a woman (voiced by actress Taylour Paige), backed by a sample of "Valentine" by double bassist Gary Peacock, pianist Art Lande, and drummer Eliot Zigmund. The song was part of their 1980 record Shift In The Wind as a jazz trio on ECM Records. Next to that, the song samples Florence + The Machine's "June."
The Beach Noise-produced "The Heart Part 5" isn't part of Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. The official single to Kendrick Lamar's first new music since 2017's DAMN. interpolates Marvin Gaye's classic "I Want You," a cut off the same-titled 1976 record. The single was complemented with, arguably, this year's most powerful video to date.
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