James Blake on why he’s stayed anonymous on other artist’s music: “They take it and make it 10 times worse”

While James Blake and Lil Yachty are seemingly a match made in heaven, not every collaboration has left Blake satisfied with the end product.

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James Blake performing live

Credit: Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images

Collaboration can be a challenge. Whether it be clashing personalities or different creative visions, compromise is key when two artists work together for the first time.

This was certainly not the case for James Blake and Lil Yachty, who are set to release their joint record Bad Cameo later this year. However, Blake hasn’t always been so lucky.

Speaking to Complex alongside Lil Yachty, Blake has opened up about his past musical regrets. While he insists he “genuinely [doesn’t] regret any song,” there are a few collaborations he made a point of distancing himself from.

“I don’t feel like there’s a song I regret actually putting out, but there’s different levels of feeling completed or like I did a good job,” Blake says. “There were some songs where I got features or did something where I just thought it would be the right thing to do and it just sort of didn’t really feel that great.”

While he avoids naming anyone directly, Blake explains that he has asked to remain uncredited on collaborative tracks he has felt disappointed by. “There were times when… I shouldn’t have been part of a piece of music,” he explains. “There’s no reason.”

“There’s actually been quite a few songs that I have actually taken my name off because I did a session and they just didn’t loop me in,“ he continues. “Six months go by, and suddenly it’s on an album and I’m like, ‘well, I didn’t have any say in how this sounds at all.’”

Without an active line of communication, artists have ran with Blake’s ideas and ruined them, in his opinion. “They take it and made it 10 times worse,” he says. “And then I’ve just been like, ‘actually, I’m good!’”

Blake has had lacklustre collaborative experiences in the past, but his collaboration with Lil Yachty is set to stun. As Complex reveal, the duo ended up working together due to their mutual respect of one another. Lil Yachty reportedly reached out on social media to tell Blake that his Assume Form record was “fucking flawless.” Despite not seeing the message, the pair would cross paths later on.

Blake had equal amounts of praise for Yachty. “I’ve been a fan of Yachty for years,” Blake reveals. “And when I heard his last record [Let’s Start Here], I was like, this is really a turn. Not many artists are brave enough to do something that’s kind of opposite of the last thing they did.”

The duo’s joint record, Bad Cameo is set to be ambient, trippy and deep. “We got a really vulnerable side of Yachty in some of those sessions,” Blake says.

While no release date is confirmed, Bad Cameo is set to drop later this year.


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