9th Wonder Confirms Kendrick Lamar’s Story About Top Dawg Plotting To Kill Kendrick’s Father
After nearly 48 hours since Kendrick Lamar released his latest album, DAMN., the Hip-Hop world is still unpacking the dense LP. Like most Kendrick Lamar albums, the project is multi-layered and deeply complex. On its face, DAMN. is arguably Kendrick’s most straight-forward work, sonically. It has 3 club-ready beats from Mike Will Made It, soulful loops from veteran producers like The Alchemist and 9th Wonder, and features from blockbuster superstars like Rihanna and U2. However, upon close listen, processing the lyrics and digestion of some of the vast internet theories that have arisen, the album is conceptually the most complex of Kendrick’s career, and one of the most complicated of any artist in any genre. Period.
Out of the gate, one of the most discussed songs on the album is its closer, “DUCKWORTH.” The song features Kendrick telling the story of two men, Anthony and Duckie, who come across one another in the 80s. Anthony is a neighborhood tough who grew up in Los Angeles’ Nickerson Gardens, and Duckie is a good kid in a mad city trying to make an honest living working at KFC. In the end, it’s revealed that Anthony is Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith and Duckie is Kenny Duckworth, Kendrick’s father. Over the course of the song a set of circumstances unfold that reveal Top Dawg had planned on robbing and potentially killing Duckie, an act that would have radically changed the fate of all three men–Top, Kendrick and Kendrick’s father.
In an exclusive interview by Complex’s Shawn Setaro, 9th Wonder reveals that the story is true. “He said yes, it’s a true story. That’s the thing that’s been going around on the net. Top Dawg has confirmed that it’s a true story. The beauty of that is, he chose to tell that story, and we’re like four albums in. Usually, people will tell that story the first time,” said the veteran producer. Marveling at the fact that Kendrick resisted the temptation to make the reveal earlier in his career, 9th added “But he told it four albums in, at the end. It’s like, ‘In summation of everything you’ve heard from me, now let me tell you how it all came about.’ And that’s his genius when it comes to when he chooses to write about something, and how he chooses to write about it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, 9th discusses his history with Kendrick and the ongoing relationship between their respective labels, Jamla and TDE. He also details the process in which the recording of the track unfolded, and his approach to selecting and chopping the samples he used. Read the entire interview here.