In a world where most rap sounds like Kid Ink over mediocre beats. Where hip hop artists are becoming more interested in fashion and entertainment as opposed to spreading a message. Where Azalea Banks is constantly feuding with so and so or various artists are hating on Iggy Azalea for whatever reason other than she’s white…there comes an album. An album that delivers a powerful message while avoiding being preachy or causing non minorities to become uninterested in the message.
Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album “To Pimp A Butterfly” does just this. Kendrick’s ability to mix lyricism with samples from Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown and others chronicles the journey of being African-American today.
I took time out my schedule yesterday to live tweet my streaming of the album. I decided to post the tweets here in case you missed it.
As you can tell I was thoroughly enjoying everything about this album. From the various old school samples to the west coast vibe. Everything about this album was giving me all types of life.
“To Pimp A Butterfly” is a beautiful homage to older west coast music and reminded me why I loved Kendrick Lamar in the first place. His ability to display a message through his lyrics and tell a continuous story is definitely evident and impressive throughout the entire piece. However, what I found most impressive was his ability to look into the darker psyche of being an African-American in society today. With tracks like Complexion (A Zulu Love), U, and Blacker The Berry this album is not meant to be taken with a grain of salt but ingested with water and food good for the soul.
I’ve read a lot criticism for Kendrick’s choice to use jazz and old school samples for his tracks. Each one of these comments suggested that creative direction Kendrick took was unneeded or made the album seem like it dragged on. I disagree. I think it puts the album and the African-American plight into a larger perspective. His choice to pay homage to classic artists such as Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown, and the Isley Brothers contributes to this album being an instant classic along with its west coast vibe. He uses these samples to showcase where African-American music began and where it’s going creatively. Furthermore, allowing the listener to delve deeper into the journey of the African-American plight. As stated earlier…this is not to be taken with a grain of salt.
The title “To Pimp A Butterfly” which is a direct play off of “To Kill A Mockingbird” (an American “classic”) adds to the creative integrity of the piece. The story “To Kill A Mockingbird” is about an African-American male who is accused of a crime he did not commit but due to his complexion suffers racial injustice. This is not to far off from the injustices faced by many African-American’s today. With a careful observation one might conclude that “To Pimp A Butterfly” is Kendrick’s version of “To Kill A Mockingbird” but through the eyes of the oppressed as opposed to the oppressor.
Overall I was thoroughly impressed with “To Pimp A Butterfly”. Kendrick has done it yet again setting the bar for the rest of the albums that come out this year. What was your opinions on the album?