Frank Dukes Has Produced for SZA & Kendrick Lamar But Hasn’t Met Either

This is a lot more common than you might realize.
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This is a lot more common than you might realize.

GRAMMY-nominated producer Frank Dukes has worked with many of your favorite artists, producing a countless number of hit records in the process, but that doesn't mean he's actually ever met them in person.

In a "Behind the Boards" interview with Zane Lowe for Beats 1 Radio on Apple Music, the 34-year-old Toronto native revealed that despite landing production credits on both SZA's GRAMMY-nominated Ctrl album ("Go Gina") and Kendrick Lamar's TDE-released Black Panther The Album ("Pray For Me"), he's never actually been in the same room with either artist.

"The crazy thing, bro, is, I've never met SZA," Dukes told Lowe. "It's one of those...the way those records came about, 'Broken Clocks' is actually a song I produced for my boy River Tiber featuring Daniel Caesar. And literally, [producer] ThankGod4Cody, who did the drums and flipped the sample, he just found the song, it was the case of him looking for samples and finding the song... For 'Go Gina,' I was just working with my boy Scum and Carter [Lang] and gave them some music to fuck around with. Sometimes you just never know where shit's going to land."

As for "Pray For Me," which is currently No. 11 on this week's Billboard Hot 100, Dukes says he was originally working on the record with The Weeknd and his long-time producer Doc McKinney, with no intention of sharing it with Kendrick. After Abel shared the song with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, however, Kendrick knew he needed to make it work.

"Abel played it for Kendrick and he got excited and hopped on it the next day," Dukes said.

Not discussed in the interview was "untitled 07 l 2014 - 2016," a track from Kendrick's untitled unmastered. that also features co-production from Frank Dukes and additional vocals from SZA.

While most artists would prefer to make magic with their producer counterparts in person, more often than not, Dukes' experience in both situations is indicative of the current, tech-friendly collaborative environment. 

In 2017 alone, Dukes co-produced three Blonded Radio-premiered gems from Frank Ocean ("Chanel," "Biking" and "Lens"), contributed five records to Aminé’s Republic debut Good For You and most of Lorde's GRAMMY-nominated Melodrama album, and worked on hits and fan favorites from ZAYN and PND ("Still Got Time"), Smokepurrp and Travis Scott ("Fingers Blue"), Drake ("Madiba Riddim") and more.