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Why Prince didn't make the cut on Kendrick Lamar's masterpiece LP

Kendrick and Prince: The collab that wasn't

Kendrick and Prince: The collab that wasn't

Last year, Kendrick Lamar released his near-perfect third album, To Pimp a Butterfly, to universal acclaim. The sprawling masterpiece about the black American male experience featured artists like Flying Lotus, George Clinton, and Snoop Dogg. But, as we learned last year, one guest didn’t make the final cut.

Well, now we know why: In a recent oral history about Lamar’s latest album, Butterfly collaborator Rapsody told the Grammys that Lamar originally wanted her and Prince to be the only voices on the song “Complexion (A Zulu Love).” 

Lamar confirmed, saying his session with Prince never made it to the recording stage.

“Prince heard the record, loved the record and the concept of the record got us to talking,” Lamar tells the Grammys. “We got to a point where we were just talking in the studio and the more time that passed we realized we weren't recording anything. We just ran out of time, it's as simple as that.”

According to Rolling Stone, Lamar trekked all the way up to Prince's Paisley Park studio/venue in Chanhassen, Minnesota, to work on the song.

"I didn't trip over getting a song done. I really appreciate the actual game he was giving me," Lamar tells Rolling Stone. "He took control of his music."

We only wish he’d taken a little more control to make To Pimp a Butterfly an even more classic album. Hopefully the news that he missed out on Prince doesn’t cost Lamar any of the 11 Grammy Awards he’s up for on Monday.