Madlib is one of the greatest and most experimental producers of all time. From having collaborated with artists such as Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, the late and great MF Doom, and in more recent years, Freddie Gibbs, there aren’t very many artists who haven’t collaborated with Madlib. There is one rapper, however, that Madlib tried to get in touch with, but couldn’t connect with.

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That rapper is Kendrick Lamar.

In a new interview with The Guardian for his latest project, Sound Ancestors, the producer extraordinaire said that he missed the phone call to collab with the Compton-bred MC for his To Pimp A Butterfly album and that he’s a hard man to get a hold of.


“Back then I was more elusive than I am now,” he told the outlet. “I was busy on my own thing. Missed opportunities, man.”

He added that working with Lamar “probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway”, he says, “cos I’m like a sore thumb.” He says he’s never properly worked with any artist. Even with his 2019 collab album Bandana with Freddie Gibbs, he and Gibbs never met up to work on music. Instead, the two “just exchanged ideas.”

Later in the interview, Madlib said that he thinks more music right now should be like Public Enemy, probably due to the tense political climate in the United States right now and a lot of the music not reflecting the times.

“Rap music right now should be like Public Enemy stuff, but it’s just not there,” he says. “I wish it was more like how it was in the earlier days when I was coming up. My influences. Real music. Music can teach you … things not to do. Most of the music today is telling you bad things to do. My type of hip-hop can help you grow up.”