Kendrick & Miguel grace the cover of VIBE Magazine’s “Big List” issue. Their interview can be read in its entirety at VIBE.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken artistically? One that went over surprisingly well and one that might’ve gone over people’s heads?
MIGUEL: Shit, well this whole album—overall it doesn’t sound like any other R&B album that’s been put out in the past decade. The only album I would say sounds as alternative would be A Beautiful World by Robin Thicke, and that was like 2003. Since then, I haven’t heard a commercial album sound as alternative as this one. Including those psychedelic influences for R&B was a huge risk. I honestly was nervous to put it out. I remember having a conversation with Mark, my A&R, like, “Man, I don’t know if they’re gonna get this shit. It may be bad.” And he was like, “I love the album.” And I love it, too; I’ll be proud of it when I’m 80, because I know what I was going through when I was writing, producing and creating it. It’s really cool to get attention from outlets that never really paid attention to me or my music before this album. On the opposite end, risks that I didn’t even know I was taking—I look back on photos [from All I Want Is You] and the way I was dressed is not something I’d do again. If anything, when you do take risks, you become either more confident because you’re going to be criticized and speculated, and those conversations are gonna cross you and you’re either sure of yourself and what you believe in or you’re torn down.
KENDRICK: I definitely agree. Making good kid, m.A.A.d city was a risk in itself. The idea of a concept record has been lost for a long time—will that translate to 16-year-old kids in high school rather than the super energetic joint on the radio? I definitely had that in the back of my mind when I was creating this album. But having that thought process gave me confidence in knowing that ain’t nothin’ new under the sun. By me doing this, it can be fresh and something new to the kids that are not used to a record that has skits intertwined within the songs and a whole album breakdown. Overall, what I talk about in my music is another huge risk. When you think of the West Coast, you immediately think of crazy-type street credibility. To come from that place but not glorify it is a challenge in itself.