To Pimp a Butterfly

 

Kendrick Lamar

 

Released This Day In... 2015

 

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Kendrick’s follow up to GKMC seemed as if it was perfectly timed. In what is a supremely jazzy and funky album, To Pimp a Butterfly differs a great deal from Kendrick’s debut project. During a period of massive unrest due to racial tensions stemming from police brutality, Kendrick gave us an album that truly spoke to the country in a profound and educational way. Grappling with his fame, the societal climate, and the intricacies of the black community Kendrick tells us stories by taking his audience on a lyrical journey.

As a reference to the old television show Roots, “King Kunta” starts the album out on a funky note, that progresses into more hard-hitting, jazzy tracks like the hit “Alright.” On “Hood Politics” Kendrick gives us a glimpse into his world when he was younger growing up in Compton and details everything from issues in his community and American politics to the rap industry. In “Complexion” Kendrick touches on traditional beauty standards by highlighting the history of Colorism and its effect within the black community. With all these inner struggles and societal issues mentioned throughout the album, on “Mortal Man” Kendrick comes to the realization that he is a new leader and powerful voice for the youth and the black community just like the Nelson Mandela’s, Malcom X’s, and Martin Luther King’s of the past. To Pimp a Butterfly was a masterful piece of art that solidified Kendrick’s position at the top of the music industry.