Album Review: Kendrick Lamar “To Pimp A Butterfly” by Blade Brown
Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Album: “To Pimp A Butterfly”
Before we get started, let’s get one thing clear: This album IS NOT “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” . Classic albums like that only come around every decade or so. With that being said, “To Pimp A Butterfly” is a masterfully crafted album that is intended to inspire change.
Its been two and a half years since Kendrick Lamar’s last album. The world has been anxiously awaiting the followup to his breakout album for quite some time. In September 2014, the album’s first single “i” was released to almost widespread critical acclaim. With a smooth sample of the Isley Brothers hit “That Lady“, the single was a strong hint at the direction the album was headed. A live version of the song appears on the album, followed by powerful spoken word to the crowd in attendance. In an era where Hip-Hop is mostly compiled of just beats and rhymes, Kendrick set out to bring something that’s been missing from mainstream Hip-Hop: A Message.
The album requires two full listens immediately. One to hear it, and one to understand it. Excerpts from a poem are played throughout the album. Each excerpt that’s played acts as an intro for the next song. Its not until the end of the album’s final song, “Mortal Man” that we hear the poem in its entirety. Once you hear the poem, and the conversation/interview that follows it, the experience you’ve just had comes together full circle. After that, give the album another listen, and you’ll clearly understand why Kendrick Lamar gets the critical praise he does.
This album, much like its predecessor is cohesive and cinematic. Although you can listen to it out of sequence, the experience is much more fulfilling if you play it straight through. You shouldn’t skip scenes in a movie, you may miss a vital part of the story. Same here, as almost every song plays a part in the message that is delivered on the end.
The hype surrounding this album is well deserved. People who aren’t looking to be moved will shun this record, as it will probably go over their head. Those who have been awaiting the return of something inspirational to MAINSTREAM Hip-Hop will be pleased. The road he started with the brilliant “Section.80” continues to be paved with his powerful third album. Kendrick Lamar season has returned. Let’s all rejoice.
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