Uniting legendary artists under the guise of his masterful presence in the studio as both an artist and producer, the 3x Grammy-nominated Crenshaw kingpin Terrace Martin has released his anticipated new album, Drones via Sounds of Crenshaw / BMG. The star-studded effort features collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Leon Bridges, Cordae, Ty Dolla$ign, Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington, YG, James Fauntleroy, D Smoke, Channel Tres, Smino, Celeste, Malaya, Kim Burrell and Hit-Boy, as well as Martin on sax, keys, vocals and more.
Over six years ago, about one week after the release of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Terrace Martin, in a philosophical conversation with Lamar, discussed a growing desensitization and a general lack of compassion amongst society. This conversation quickly led to the birth of the title track, “Drones”. To further bring this unrest to sound, Martin called on friends, neighbors, and collaborators to have long conversations about the environment, technology, the state of the world, and more. Drones was crafted in an effort to balance an unmasking and celebration of the lived Black American experience in what Martin describes as a “Black Disneyland”.
Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Ty Dolla $ign, and James Fauntleroy add a magnetic energy on the title track, meditating on how we can function as automatons in relationships over slinky funk and R&B. The tones that Martin is well-known for show up on “Griots of the Crenshaw District,” an instrumental jazz explosion produced by Grammy winner Hit-Boy that allows Martin, tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and urban maestro Robert Glasper to blow winding notes into the air. It also makes room for songs like Arin Ray and Smino’s buttery “This Morning,” and”Reflection,” James Fauntleroy’s digitized plea of desire and sensuality in a quiet storm.
“There are touches of R&B, touches of jazz, touches of hip-hop, touches of classical, Cuban music, West African music, house music,” says Martin. “You’re going to hear all elements of Black music within this record. It’s not one element I can leave out if I call myself a true Black artist.”
Terrace Martin is one of the most versatile and freely collaborative artists of his generation. A product of Los Angeles’ rich music community, the multi-instrumentalist, producer, composer, and vocalist has performed and recorded extensively with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Lalah Hathaway, Herbie Hancock, and Kendrick Lamar, and has been Grammy-nominated through his contributions to the latter’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and To Pimp a Butterfly. Martin also has an abundant discography as a leader synthesizing R&B, jazz, and hip-hop in communal fashion.