My 21 Initial Thoughts On “To Pimp A Butterfly”


150316-kendrick-lamar

KENDRICK LAMAR HAS DONE IT AGAIN.

Dude decided he was going to switch it all up on these hoes secret album droppers a la Beyonce and Drake, and announce an official album release date date for To Pimp Butterfly, only to expose it more than a week before its intended March 23rd drop. And I totally get it. Because when you create a masterpiece this bomb how can you keep it from the world for one more second? [Edited To Add @ 6:19pm: this was an accidental release on Lamar’s label, Interscope’s behalf as noted here on Complex.com]

And though I have only just listened to this yesterday, it’s so beautiful I just had to write about it.

When was the last time I wrote about an album on this blog?

…Never.

Should tell you something.

Some of you may remember that I’ve spoken on The Wrath of Kendrick Lamar before. But THIS?…….This album right here???

This album right chea will revolutionize hip hop….

And this is not to disparage the skills displayed on recent monumental albums Dark Sky Paradise, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, The Young OG Project, and Forest Hills Drive.

This album is just different.

And it only means hip hop is getting better. And that artist’s sophomore slumps are to become extinct.

So below are my initial thoughts on TPAB after 2.5 full listens. And no, this isn’t a generic song by song break down review. This album is too complicated for that…and I mean that in the highest regards possible. But who knows, after more spins, I may write another post:

1. My ears weren’t ready.

2. The composition of each song was like beautiful tapestry of jazz woven with instrumentals of pianos, flutes, tambourines, and clarinets.

3. This album has officially set the standard for where hip hop in 2015 should be and would only take someone with extremely good taste along with a loathing of what recent hip hop has become to fully appreciate it.

4. I take that back. This album isn’t just hip hop. It’s NEO HOP, the result of when Neo Soul and Hip Hop give birth. Kendrick has birthed and revitalized a sound of music that couldn’t have come at a better time. Point blank period.

5. Its reminiscent of a soundtrack to a musical from the 70’s. Better yet a soundtrack from any movie from the blaxploitation era. I can imagine pimps with pressed pastel suits, paisley shirts, fedoras, flipped out hair and pinky rings, riding around in their Cadillac Eldorado’s back in the day, banging this album. It’s soulful, swagged out, and retro.

6. At first listen, I thought I heard Prince’s voice on a couple of songs, and then realized it was Bilal, further supporting my long-standing opinion that Bilal is Prince 2.0.

7. I can imagine Nas, Lauryn, Janelle, D’Angelo, Pharrell, Erykah, Jill, Mos, and Raphael on this album. But the few collabs Kendrick has on TPAB are perfect.

8. Again…my ears weren’t ready.

9. This album is sums of the complexities of human existence– it’s dark, calm, rambunctious, soothing, gritty, uplifting, and emotional all at the same damn time.

10. This album is flavorful. It is food to my ears.

11. This album is the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s three course meal gum. It’s the appetizer, entree, and dessert (with seconds):

12. This is an album to sip tea to, smoke hookah or herb to. It’s an album to indulge in a stiff drink to.

13. This is an album to kick back to on a breezy Sunday afternoon. This is an album to contemplate life to.

14. This is an album to write to…to paint to. This is an album to draw inspiration from. This is an album to create to. This album IS ART.

15. And in a world full of cookie cutter rappers with “club bangers” composed of profanity, mentions of bad bitches, on beats by Mike Will Made It or DJ Mustard, Kendrick has managed to single-handedly shat upon them with this body of work.

16. I take that back, K Dot has managed to single-handedly shat upon any album out currently…PERIOD.

17. I can imagine this album being the point of focus for a Hip Hop studies class, something that would be dissected at higher institutions like these.

18. If this doesn’t get Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammy’s, Kanye BETTA RANT ABOUT IT (but we all know he won’t).

19. Each song is an audio story. Each song has its own individual arch, complete with an exposition, rising conflict, climax, falling action, and resolution.

20. And for that very reason, this album is best when listening to it from beginning to end and in its original order.

21. This album was everything I didn’t know I wanted or needed.

Haven’t heard it yet? Listen HERE.

Your thoughts on the album? I want to hear them….

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