What it Really Means to Pimp a Butterfly
A week earlier than expected, Kendrick Lamar released his highly anticipated album, To Pimp a Butterfly, and it has already been damn well received by fans and critics alike. Kendrick’s second major label album is a stroke of genius made up of fiery outrage and ruthless self-reflection, all backed by what I can only describe as the soundscape of a hole-in-the-wall jazz club.
Flashback to Juice Jam ’13 when Kendrick had us screaming “YAWK! YAWK! YAWK! YAWK!” at the top of our lungs, and I bet you would’ve never guessed this budding rap superstar would be dealing with death, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. To Pimp a Butterfly is cohesive insanity. While many of his fans were expecting a brash loud album of him talking shit and declaring himself the king of rap, Kendrick surprised us all by making an album about the African American experience in society. From the history of black oppression to his personal definition of the N-word, to skin complexion issues, to ultimately learning to accept yourself, Lamar manages to piece an array of topics together in order to present a cinematic experience that keeps fans hooked for all 16 tracks.
Although it’s definitely a dark album, this is not an album about race. When Kendrick released “i” last year, it caught a lot of fans off guard because it wasn’t what they were expecting, but after listening to the album, I get it. Even though it’s not an album designed for a wide audience, "I’m not talking to people from the suburbs. I’m talking as somebody who’s been snatched out of cars and had rifles pointed at me," Kendrick told The New York Times.
To Pimp a Butterfly has wide appeal, thanks to the excellent beats and production that inject energy it. Underneath the tragedy and adversity, To Pimp a Butterfly is a celebration of the audacity it takes to wake up each morning and try to be better, knowing it could all end in a second, for no reason at all, and that is what it means to pimp a butterfly.
Although the whole album is definitely worth your time, these are the five tracks that are a must listen:
1 .King Kunta
2. These Walls ft. Bilal, Anna Wise, and Thundercat
4. The Blacker the Berry
5. Mortal Man