Pitchfork recently published an interview with a number of Dr. Dre’s collaborators on Compton. In light of the recent debate about artists writing their own raps, some of the most interesting stories come from the young rapper King Mez, who Pitchfork suggests provided Dre with a reference track for every one of his Compton verses.
According to Mez, coming up with the words, cadence, and delivery that ended up on the album was in itself a collaborative process. “[Dre] coached my voice into sounding like what he wanted his voice to sound like on every song,” Mez notes. “It was like method acting, in a way: You put yourself in the perspective of someone else for an elongated period of time.”
“Every time I’d record,” Mez continues, “[Dre]’d say, ‘Say it more like this,’ or ‘Say it more like that.’ 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 niggas 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.”
Mez added some additional thoughts via Twitter last night, noting, “it isn’t ghostwriting if it's open conversation.”