In a song “dedicated to vaginas,” SZA enlists fellow TDE mate Kendrick Lamar to talk about how there is so much more to offer than sex and things people do to go out of their way to get pussy.
“Doves in the Wind” is SZA’s third single, releasing hours before the debut of Ctrl.
There’s a song where I talk about sleeping with my ex-boyfriend’s friend because he purposefully left me on Valentine’s Day, which will be the first time he hears about it, and I have a whole track dedicated to vaginas. It’s called “Doves In the Wind.”
That one I made on the spot with SZA at… not her house, but somebody’s house. Isaiah was there, ThankGod4Cody was there, The Antydote was there—SZA’s whole little family. We made this song in 2015, by the way.
I was just at their crib making beats from scratch, playing them out loud on the speakers. It was really fun. After a while SZA told me what she wanted, she was like, “I don’t want anything pretty-sounding. I don’t want to sing over anything that’s feminine. Give me something dirty, something hood, something masculine.” I thought about it and was like, “I got the perfect thing.”
Way back in 2013 I was working on Vic [Mensa’s] album, INNANETAPE, and I took [Busta Rhymes and J Dilla’s “Turn Me Up Some”] and slowed it down, like screwed it. It sounded so dope. It was soulful but it was also dark. It was kinda difficult to find those chords so I could never get it, but I was like, “One day I‘m going to do it.”
So when she told me that she needed something dark and hood and gritty, it just popped in my mind right there. I was like, “Let me try it this time.” And I did it on the spot in front of them. I took the song and slowed it down and they were like, “Oh shit, what’s he about to do?” I started to play the synth parts, the chords, one sound at a time. Then I put the drums on there. The drums are inspired by “Everybody’s Something,” how they’re really big, loud and slow-moving, and have a little dustiness to it. I knew it was going to work.
I make a lot of beats in my head over time and have all the pieces in my mind. It’s like if you have a recipe in your mind and you’re like, “Ooh, what if I put some almonds with some coconut and mix it with this?” I had [the “Doves In the Wind” beat] in my head already and that was my opportunity to do it. It was perfect. She instantly wrote the song.
I remember I went to the studio for a session with her to record it and Kendrick was there. He had his back turned and had a hoodie on when I opened the door so I didn’t know it was him. He was really into the beat. I was like, “Damn, whoever this is, he loves this shit!” He was all up on the speakers. I walk in SZA’s like, “Oh Cam, what’s good?!” She starts talking me up in front of Kendrick, I’m so happy she did that. She was like, “Yo K. Dot, this is Cam, he’s dope as fuck, he made this beat.”
So Kendrick turns around and I didn’t know it was him so I jumped. I was like, “Oh shit!” He came up to me like, “Yo, I fuck with this beat. This shit is raw.” He said some more shit that I can’t even remember, it was a blur. He was talking and it was going in one ear and out the other. I wish I knew what the fuck he said about the beat. I couldn’t respond because I was froze. I couldn’t say shit.
At first it was just SZA on the song and I love that song because of what she did. What she wanted to do was take this masculine energy, harness it and channel it in a song designed for female empowerment. That was so genius. The original song with just her on it, the message really gets across. She had this line at the very end—it isn’t there anymore, she took her verse off for Kendrick—where’s she’s like, “My pussy is above you, doves in the wind.” That’s why she called it “Doves In the Wind.” It’s like a poem.
I didn’t even know Kendrick was on it until she dropped the tracklist. I was like, “Oh shit! Kendrick rapping on one of my beats?” I just felt good, man. If I’m going to be the kind of producer that I want to be and have the impact that I want to have, you got to have the biggest rappers on your beats.
I’ve always been true to myself musically, no matter what I was working on or who I was around. I never compromised, never did something because I felt like the people or the fans would be more into it. I was always being told by people in the industry that I couldn’t do that, that it would never work. So it feels good to get to this place. I don’t want to just have a bunch of money, I want to be great. I want to make an impact.
—SZA, via Entertainment Weekly