Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” – An Album Review

Kendrick Lamar has decided to no longer follow any type of rules whatsoever. Release dates? Who cares just release it early. I’m a Hip-Hop artist? Who cares lets release the funk. That is exactly what he has done with his sophomore effort. Kendrick Lamar has gotten rid of all the rules.

Slated to release on March 23, 2015, Kendrick Lamar’s follow up to the highly successful Good Kid MAAD City, entitled To Pimp a Butterfly not only released a week early on March 15, 2015 but it also like its title is highly confusing and funkadelic. Kendrick Lamar is on the verge of creating his own new genre as it seems to be the new trend a la:(Kanye West, Rihanna, and Paul Mccartney.) He blends the seemingly free spiritedness of 70s Funk music and combines it with his smart lyrics and wordplay from the more modern hip-hop music he is known for. The result is a sonically diverse mind trip rivaled only by Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap, in terms of unconventional-ness.

With features from Legendary Ronald Isley and George Clinton, pioneers in their own right, it is clear to see that this funkdafied sound is not an accident. Keeping clear with the funk themes, To Pimp a Butterfly is a social commentary. Many controversial topics are touched upon from racism, to colorism, to government corruption, all in one funky two-step rhythm.

To Pimp a Butterfly is not without its flaws. Many rap “fans” will not like it. With the exception of one or two tracks there are no what a casual fan would say “real rap songs.” This of course is not the case but for the context of this critique we will use the term. If you are looking for conventional instrumentals, with the same stereotypical (Rags to riches, money, cars, back then they didn’t want me now i’m hot they all on me) lyrical content repeated over and over again like the recently released Dark Sky Paradise by Big Sean, you may be out of luck. Kendrick isn’t out to speak about himself. This is his bid to become this generation’s Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey. How those beyond his core friends will respond to it will be interesting to see.

Ultimately To Pimp a Butterfly, is the equivalent of taking one of your parents old records from the 70s mixing it with some golden age hip-hop from the 90s, adding some old and new problems to talk about, and then moonwalking all over it until it blends into one melodic and symbolic piece of work, sure to change the way people look at themselves. There probably won’t be anything this different to come out until Chance the Rapper and The SOX’s Surf project releases.

Rating: (4.5/5)

Nicari Legette

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