Producer !llmind Reveals How His Sound Kit Made It to Kendrick Lamar's 'GOD.' Beat

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Courtesy of Illmind
Illmind

"This what God feel like," Kendrick Lamar, clad in an all-white ensemble, rapped during his headlining Coachella weekend 1 set at the music and arts festival in Indio, California. Three days after dropping his third studio album DAMN., Lamar debuted several cuts onstage, which included the ethereal presentation of "GOD."

The reflective track finds the Compton spitter meditating on his wins ("Laughin' to the bank like, a-ha/ Flex on swole like a-ha") while the wavy beat was a collaborative effort among a team of beatsmiths comprised of Yung Exclusive, Bēkon, Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, Cardo, Sounwave, Ricci Riera and DJ Dahi with drums by Mike Hector. 

Dig a little deeper into SoundCloud, though, and inklings of the melody first appeared on "End of the World," an !llmind and M31RK-produced beat off the beat 'tape #BoomTrap Vol. 2 that was released on blapkits.com, a site that hosts different sound loops and drum kits for other producers to cop and build upon. Riera was able to flip the synth snippet (which appears at the 2:10 mark below) and add his own drums for what would eventually be the soundscape for Lamar's "GOD."

"When you first play that song and hear that opening melody and on the chorus, those actually [came from] a full chord melody that I recorded on one of my sample packs," !llmind tells Billboard. "I think it was kind of a cool thing that happened because most of the time when someone samples music, it’s from the '70s or older stuff -- you really don’t hear new music being sampled.

"I’ve never been sampled before," he notes. "I never thought that would even be possible, and it happened on the Kendrick album."

!llmind, who has produced songs for Drake, J. Cole and Lin Manuel-Miranda's The Hamilton Mixtape, among others, notes that he has no issue with not being credited, as the sound kit was sold as a royalty-free pack online.

"It’s kind of a thing in the producer world where royalty-free means that you can take the actual sample and manipulate it without having to actually create the sample," he explains. "That’s not actually true for all circle loops -- like I have sample packs where you have to create them and get clearance from me and publishing, and I get credit. But for that particular kit [used on 'GOD.'], it’s actually a drum kit that was royalty free. So I think that’s where it kind of gets unique in that I’m on the Kendrick album but I’m not really on the Kendrick album because it was sampled royalty-free from a sample pack."

Instances like this show the opportunities available to producers of all levels, especially those who share sounds across the Internet. "I just wanted people to know there's a producer community where there’s all these sounds that are out there, and if the sounds are good enough and usable, there are producers working with the Drakes, Kendricks and Coles that could use this music -- and that’s exactly what happened there," adds !llmind. "The producer community has grown so much that there’s an unlimited amount of content out there to sample now."


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