Kendrick Lamar's "The Colbert Report" Performance Created Day Before Show, Terrace Martin Says

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In his discussion with NPR, Martin also says that part of the performance was improvised because he and Thundercat "forgot the arrangement."

In a conversation with NPR, Los Angeles musician Terrace Martin described his recent performance on The Colbert Report with Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat. Martin revealed that Lamar’s still untitled song was constructed the day before the show.

“We came with that the day before at rehearsal,” Martin says, “[Because] we didn't want to do nothing that's already been done. He didn't want to do ‘i.’ Let's just, you know, fly out. Let's rehearse in New York and get that energy and do something a little different.”

Martin also says that they did have a “sketch” of the song prior to the show rehearsal. He also reveals that portions of the song were improvised because both he and Thundercat forgot the arrangement.

“We had an idea of it a while ago,” he says. “But we wasn't sure—but most of that was done right there—not right there but the day before. And then something magical and spiritual happened there to where some things that wasn't, you know, rehearsed, happens… because I think me and Thundercat forgot the arrangement and just do what jazz musicians do. And Kendrick, him being like a horn player, he's like Coltrane, man. Mild-mannered, soft-spoken, always practicing. New harmonic approaches, different techniques, falls in—there's not a mistake on that stage with him. If the turntables fall, he gon'—like, it's weird. It's like water.

“So that's how he is,” continues Martin, “And not—and that's, right now—just from the cats I've worked with, I haven't—next to him, improvising-wise, like an instrument, the only cat I felt like that was probably Snoop. That I could feel could go sit in with B.B. King right now.”

Terrace Martin is currently working on Kendrick Lamar’s upcoming album. He’s also recording his next solo album which he says will contain “a lot of instrumental stuff… not so much singing and rapping.”