Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly has been out for nearly a week now, and releases like this need much more than this short space of time to provide any sort of opinion, but, it’s one of the most hyped releases in recent years- so I have to give some thought on it. However, what this means is that when speaking on an album of this magnitude, my review will have to start with a bit of a ramble.
Music is of course a colossal spectrum, and the word ‘great’ can be applied in a plethora of ways. Justin Biebers’ Believe can be considered ‘great’ for dominating sales figures and creating his own fanbase similar in size to The Beatles, The Sex Pistols’ debut can be given the ‘great’ label for inspiring an entire movement called ‘punk’, where as Kanye West’s Fantasy can also be called ‘great’ for being one of the most complete pieces of music of the 21st Century. To Pimp A Butterfly is ‘great’ in a very different way.
While listening to To Pimp A Butterfly, it gets to the point where I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand the true genius and overall substance Kendrick Lamar intended- I’m not black, and I’m not American. I can’t say that this album speaks to me, I can’t say I’ll ever understand exactly how black people are treated in the US, and I definitely can’t say wether this album has changed anything. But what I can say, is that Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly is a powerful, politically charged, message-ridden call for change. I will also say that I write this review cautiously, I don’t want to say that this album is something for black people that it isn’t, because as a white British man, I will never truly understand, but as that outsider, it seems Kendrick Lamar has become the biggest voice in a long time.
As you can see, three paragraphs, 309 words in, I still haven’t actually spoke on the music itself. That’s because To Pimp A Butterfly is beyond a disc of sound, way beyond a song with .mp3 at the end, it’s a Luther King speech, it’s a protesting ‘fuck you’, it’s a every video of police brutality, it’s every hate crime, it’s every struggle. To talk about the different chords, drum patterns, choruses, guest spots or production credits, would simply be an insult, and an injustice.
I could witter on about the obvious lyrical ability Kendrick Lamar has, but we all know that he’s
one of the hottest rapper in the game right now. Forget the legacies of JAY Z, Kanye West, Nas, Eminem and Lil Wayne, or the current appeal of Drake, A$AP Rocky, or Big Sean. Kendrick Lamar is creating monumental, ground breaking music that will forever remain a pivotal part of not just hip-hop, but of life, culture and social-political issues. To Pimp A Butterfly is a milestone, a turning point, and a benchmark, in every possible sense of the word.
Verdict – WWWWW