Mike WiLL Made-It produced the first two singles from Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., both the current #1 song in America “HUMBLE.” and our pick for the #1 song of the past week, “DNA.” But it almost wasn’t so for the former, as Mike WiLL revealed today in a new interview with NPR. As he explained:
I made that beat [last year] when Gucci Mane was getting out of jail; I made it with him in mind. I was just thinking, damn, Gucci’s about to come home; it’s got to be something urgent that’s just going to take over the radio. And I felt like that beat was that.
But Mike WiLL and Guwop ended up recording “First Day Out Tha Feds” instead for Gucci’s first post-prison statement, which left Kendrick the opportunity to take a crack at the “HUMBLE.” beat. While K. Dot liked the song, he initially offered it up to Mike WiLL to release on his most recent studio effort Ransom 2. However, Kendrick wound up changing his mind and keeping the song for his own album at the advice of his team. They wisely chose it for the first single, and the rest is history currently in the making.
Mike WiLL also produced the U2 collaboration “XXX.” He shared some thoughts on that one in the interview, too:
That was Dot’s vision. I’m definitely a fan of U2. I’ve seen Bono around a couple of times, just being around [former Interscope chair] Jimmy Iovine. I’ve had lunch with Bono; we even exchanged numbers and emails. We just never knew what we were going to do. And for Dot to just tie it all together, I’m sure he’s had the same lunches with Bono as well since he also works close with Jimmy Iovine. Really, that came out of left field when he told me that he added him on there. I kept trying to imagine U2 on the first half of that beat, cause at first that was the only part to the song. And I was like, ‘Dang, he put U2 on that?’ I couldn’t figure out what that would sound like. But when he let me hear the whole thing with the different sections, it came out dope.
Below, revisit “HUMBLE.” and try to imagine what Gucci would’ve done with it.