The first time that I met Terrace Martin was at his home in a gated community in Porter Ranch, a subdivision of Northridge, itself a neighborhood within the sprawling San Fernando Valley suburb of Los Angeles.
I was called up by his assistant — an apartment manager by day, dot connect by night — to write Terrace’s bio. As I rode up to the residence, I drove past the gate security and parked where instructed. Lo and behold, Kurupt, one-half of the infamous group, Tha Dogg Pound, was chilling on the stoop. It was a mid-size home and he was chatting with a young lady who could be his daughter. Or s**t, she could’ve been one of Terrace’s kids, the dude has four with his oldest one being 18 at the time.
For those who aren’t hip to the legend of Terrace Martin, the Locke High School standout was a jazz prodigy who bounced around schools in Los Angeles. Before falling back into his favorite alma mater, Terrace attended Santa Monica High School, eventually returning back to South Central Los Angeles. To be clear, Terrace Martin has led two very interesting, intertwining lives. On one hand, he is the son of a Spanish Harlem-based jazz musician and created an opportunity for himself by working with Snoop Dogg as part of The Snoopadelics at age 16. On the other, he has been closely associated with the best of the best out there in West Coast music from Kendrick Lamar to YG to Problem to Ab-Soul.
He would perform on stages using a professional horn that he earned from late night talk show legend, Jay Leno, and would go on to produce numerous joints for Snoop and other West Coast artists. This would include the radio hit “Joystick” for the group 213, which featured Snoop Dogg, Warren G and the late, great Nate Dogg. Simultaneously, Terrace put in work in the independent circuit as a rapper and a tenor saxophone player. He helped to place the live band element behind hip-hop music’s biggest stars such as Sean “Puffy” Combs and the aforementioned Snoop Dogg.
Along the way, Terrace Martin’s dual worlds folded together and that manifested in such a beautiful way that efforts like Locke High, Here, My Dear and 2013’s heralded masterpiece, 3ChordFold placed him on music’s radar before Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly was released earlier this year. Terrace Martin’s choice to work with both underground and independent artists is exemplary. From Murs, who worked with Terrace on the 2011 mixtape Melrose to Ty Dolla Sign and Problem — Terrace Martin is ahead of his time with a futuristic ear that attracts talent.
All these and other factors enabled Terrace to be a part of the genius band of players who put in work at a pivotal time in Kendrick Lamar’s career, which was piping hot off of the success of the good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Butterfly, billed as the quintessential “unapologetically black” recording, has had robust commercial sales on a limited-but-well-grossing touring schedule. It might not have been the right cup of tea or coffee for the music-and-culture journalism juggernaut known as Complex, most particularly Justin Charity, but his writing did soundly spark an awakening.
In having Justin Charity writing this piece, he admirably reached out to Terrace Martin to interview him as a follow-up to his controversial offering titled, “Why Did Everyone Claim to Enjoy Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’?!”. Throughout the process, Terrace revealed a lot of interesting insights and keen observations of Kendrick, their interactions through creating such an excellent work of art and discussed the influences behind the production of To Pimp A Butterfly. So, last week, Okayplayer caught up with the talented multi-instrumentalist at an apartment in West Los Angeles to chop it up about the Complex controversy, touch upon the topic of his touring of Turkey and dovetailed into the highly hyped question about a possible Kendrick Lamar and D’Angelo collabo.
Okayplayer: You said that you have been to Turkey, can you talk about how the experience of traveling to a place so far outside the U.S. was like?
Terrace Martin: I was in Istanbul, y’know? And being there there are sorts of beautiful, kind people, who are very loving. There are some very beautiful women there as well. The food is incredible with such amazing spices, and they have a strong appreciation for the Arts.
OKP: While there did you have Turkish coffee as well?
TM: Nah, not really. It wasn’t my thing to be honest. But there was definitely some hashish out there that was cool.
OKP: Speaking of cool, Kendrick Lamar is really out there with his music, right now. The fact that you gave Complex an interview is simply interesting…
TM: Justin [Charity], yeah, I know that dude. I didn’t know that he wrote the piece that caused all sorts of controversy, but I definitely know that dude.
OKP: He sparked a very interesting conversation that caused all sorts of thinkpieces to be written around the web…
TM: That’s what a good writer is supposed to do.
OKP: Yeah, the piece was very elaborate and even got a reaction from me, like, ‘You’re calling people out for being fans?!” Black Messiah, To Pimp A Butterfly were both powerful works of art, you know what I’m talking about?
TM: Justin is just an individual and he wrote how he felt. He understood what happened when he wrote it and what was the misunderstanding. We all do this within art sometimes. We shoot the gift and we talk it out. His article or op-ed doesn’t make me have an ill feeling — that was just his own opinion.
>>>Continue reading more from Terrace Martin on Pg. 2…