Rapsody was utterly astonished after she first heard her voice on “Complexion (A Zulu Love).” Although the idea for her collaboration with Kendrick Lamar was created nearly two years ago, the Jamla rapper claims she heard the song for the first time after To Pimp A Butterfly made its surprise debut earlier this week. In a recent interview with Complex, Rapsody explained the background behind her verse on the Thundercat-produced track.
Rapsody recalled the story of how the song came to be, which dates back two years ago when the North Carolina native was on the road promoting her She Got Game mixtape in New York City. K. Dot had reached out to her manager 9th Wonder and said that he was interested in working with her. As she went on to release her next project Beauty And The Beast, almost two years passed by before she and 9th received the call from Kendrick.
“Working with one of those artists, you have different ideas when making music,” she said. “But, he reached back out on Jan. 11 [of 2015]. I was on my way to Toronto, and he hit 9th. He told him he was gonna send him something to get on. That was when he reached out.”
After receiving the instrumental the same day without Kendrick’s bars, Rap wrote up her verse within a few hours. Once she got together with 9th in D.C., they hit the studio to record her verse and sent it off. It wasn’t until the album was available online that Rapsody got to hear their song in full for the first time. She remembered thinking how crazy it was that both of their verses synced together so well.
“We didn’t talk in-depth about what direction to go in, but he told me complexion. You know, African-American, black people in America,” she said. “I was in D.C. and I wrote that verse that day. 9th drove up, and we went into the studio and recorded it that night. I hadn’t heard his verse, and it is dope that we had similar subject matter about slaves and about blue eyes and the Tupac thing. I didn’t know Tupac was at the end of the project. So it is dope how it all came together.”