What's it like to write for Dr. Dre?
It's a question many people have often wondered. For years, it's been said that The Good Doctor has had talented rappers ghostwrite for him -- from Eminem to Jay Z to Kendrick Lamar. Well, King Mez is one of the latest to fill that role. He's reportedly the second most prolific writer on Dre's new LP, Compton.
So, what is it like to pen and record reference tracks for Dre? Mez broke that down during an interview with Pitchfork published Wednesday (Aug. 12).
“Every time I’d record, he’d say, ‘Say it more like this,’ or ‘Say it more like that,’” he explained. “In his mind, he’s imagining what he’s going to sound like, but he’s getting me to do it first. I’m telling you, I did thousands of takes for that record. We went over nearly every word. The line on 'Deep Water' that goes 'These n----s won’t let up until they all wet up' is like a just-offbeat, stutter-type rap. We must have went over that 100 times at his beach house.”
“He coached my voice into sounding like what he wanted his voice to sound like on every song," he added. "It was like method acting, in a way: You put yourself in the perspective of someone else for an elongated period of time. So much so that when it was time to start working on my own music again, it was weird for a little while. I had to get out of that mindset.”
Looking back on their work together, Mez likens Dre to another legend. “What Phil Jackson is to basketball, that’s what he is to talent and music,” Mez said. “The way he utilized us, it almost felt like, ‘Oh, so this guy can do this.’ It made me change my perspective on what I can create."
Together, Dre and Mez created a whole lot. Mez reportedly had the most writing credits on the Compton album besides The Good Doctor. He also did references for every Dre verse and backing vocals on all but one of the LP's songs, according to the report.
That makes us think there's a lot more to come from this King and his Doc.