Kendrick Lamar fans have been waiting for new music from the reclusive rapper for far too long. Just how long exactly? According to Lamar's engineer Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, the rapper's hiatus has birthed about six albums worth of unreleased music.
Speaking on the latest episode of Kevin Durant‘s The ETCs podcast, the Grammy Award-winning mix engineer briefly touched on the rapper’s high standards when making music. MixedByAli, who has worked with Lamar on each one of his solo albums since 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, revealed that much of what Lamar records during his sessions ends up on the cutting room floor in his personal quest for perfection.
“For Kendrick alone, let me say I think we could put together like six albums,” he said. “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.
Ali continued, “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, you know?”
Kendrick Lamar's fans have been clamoring for a new album since he released dropped the Pulitzer Prize-winning DAMN. back in 2017. And according to Ali, the rapper's new material will be well worth the wait.
Listen to Ali's interview in full below and skip to the 34-minute mark to hear him speak on Kendrick Lamar.