Dr. Dre is meticulous in the studio — and with good reason. When the Doc puts his stamp on a project, he isn't only competing with contemporary hip-hop artists; he's up against his own legacy, a legacy that has spawned countless hit records and careers. Yet for every Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Game, there is a Bishop Lamont or Stat Quo, who couldn't quite make it out of Dre's legendary stable. So imagine how MTV's "Hottest MC in the Game" Kendrick Lamar must've felt when he began to craft his 2012 debut good kid, m.A.A.d city for Dre's Aftermath label.
"He said, 'Yo, go out there, record your album and bring it back,' " Lamar told MTV News' Sway Calloway on Thursday night, shortly after he learned he had received top honors in "Hottest MCs in the Game VIII" TV special.
"I worked on it, worked on it, worked on it. Finally got it to a place where I felt like I got my point across, handed it to Dre as is — the same way you here it on this album," he continued telling the story.
Lamar figured he and Dre would come up with half a dozen new records and add some of them on top of what he originally recorded. Dre, however had different plans.
"The moment I handed it in, I'm thinking we're going into the studio and he's like, 'What you doin'? You're done'," Kendrick recalled. "It threw me for a loop because you hear about these stories. You know the stories; Aftermath."
Through the years, Aftermath has released albums from Eminem, 50 Cent, the Game, Busta Rhymes and a few others. But artists like Joell Ortiz, Bishop Lamont and Stat Quo have never seen an Aftermath release. Heck ,even the iconic Rakim couldn't come up with the right material suitable for Dr. Dre to launch. Dre's own Detox has sat in limbo for over 10 years, so when he gave Kendrick the thumbs up, it let the young Compton spitter know that he had something special on his hands.
"For him to say that it's ready. That gave me all the confidence in the world man," Lamar said.