Kendrick Lamar ‘s “OK” seems to be considered one of the greatest records in his discography. But Pharrell‘s anthem almost didn’t make To Pimp a Butterfly.
Speaking to Spotify’s “The Big Hit Show” podcast, producer Sounwave explains how the iconic song was Kendrick Lamar ‘s last-minute addition to his third studio album. In one of his meetings, Pharrell played Kendrick beats, while a Sony Music executive took Sounwave aside and made an instrumental that Pharrell actually made for another artist.
“I just remember my guy, Sam Taylor said, ‘Hey come check this one out.’ He takes me to another room,” recalled Sounwave. “And he plays me the skeleton of ‘Alright.’”
“And I remember my jaw dropping. It was literally like the ‘808s and the keys, and Pharrell had the melody of “We’re going to be fine.” And I said, “Brother, what is this?”” Oh, my God, I’m freaking out. And I ran, and I said, “Dot, you should come and listen to this.”
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Kendrick Lamar Was Immediately Removed
Kendrick was immediately removed after hearing it. “He plays for Dot, Dot stops everything he does and starts writing ‘OK’.”
Although they loved the song, they couldn’t fit what they wanted for the rest of the album. Sounwave,
“It was super amazing, super convenient, not sonic, no matter what we did, it didn’t fit the rest of the album,” he said.
“But we loved that play so much, I said, ‘OK, I’m not going to let this record die.'”
Thanks to some last-minute edits, the song made the final track list.
“I’ve got to literally go back, in the last second of the album, literally as it was at the time of the crunch, I think we had another day and we added drums to it,” he said.