VIDEO: Hip hop producer 9th Wonder unpacks his samples for Lamar's "DAMN." Watch hip-hop producer 9th Wonder break down the three beats he composed that all went into a single song from Kendrick Lamar's Pulitzer-winning album, DAMN.
NPR logo 9th Wonder Breaks Down His Beats For Kendrick Lamar's 'Duckworth.'

9th Wonder Breaks Down His Beats For Kendrick Lamar's 'Duckworth.'

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Three samples. Three genres. Three generations. Watch 9th Wonder take us on a sonic journey while breaking down the trio of beats he produced for one Kendrick Lamar classic: "Duckworth."

The Formula is a five-episode series on the art of sampling in which acclaimed hip-hop producers show us how they find inspiration in classics, hidden gems, found sounds and other raw musical materials to create new hits. For each video in the series, NPR Music has also asked a writer we love to focus on an element of the video we've made and spin it off in a new direction — to sample it.

As part of this series, Marcus J. Moore, the author of the forthcoming book The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America, looks at Lamar's relationship with contemporary and historical jazz musicians. That essay is here.

You can find all the latest episodes and essays at npr.org/theformula.

CREDITS

Host: Rodney Carmichael; Producers: Nick Michael; CJ Riculan, Maia Stern; Animator: CJ Riculan; Director of Photography: Colin Marshall; Editor: Annabel Edwards; Videographers: Colin Marshall, CJ Riculan, Morgan Noelle Smith; Audio Recording Engineer: Colin Marshall; Audio Mix Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Supervising Producer: Nick Michael; Senior Producer: Abby O'Neill; Consulting Editor: Jacob Ganz; Managing Editor: Becky Lettenberger; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins, Lauren Onkey; Special Thanks: Eric Hilton, Robert "Kalani" Tifford, Peter Ugrin

MUSIC

  • "Girl," Destiny's Child, Destiny Fulfilled (2004)
  • "Be Ever Wonderful," Ted Taylor, Keepin' My Head Above Water (1978)
  • "Ostavi Trag," September, Zadnja Avantura (1976)
  • "Atari," Hiatus Kaiyote, Choose Your Weapon (2015)
  • "DUCKWORTH.," Kendrick Lamar, DAMN. (2017)
  • "Rose Water", DJ Face [series theme track]