I'm not sure about pimping a butterfly but Kendrick Lamar certainly knows the smooth. Sampling and influenced by the '70s greats of Parliament, Clinton (George not me) and Marvin Gaye, he twists black anger into new and danceable shapes. Challenging at times but sounds like it's going to be a decent follow up.
10/10 sonti Customer review, 19th June 2015
With his apparent mainstream success, it would have come as no surprise for Kendrick Lamar to release an album of catchy and accessible tracks to further his mainstream success. This is not, however, what To Pimp a Butterfly conforms to. Instead Kendrick has released a dark, introspective and complex third studio album that will all but solidify his place in the hip hop scene for years to come. This album is a slow burner, that deserves the time needed to fully understand and appreciate its intricacies. Depression has long inspired music, but, despite being so apparent in the Hip Hop scene since its birth (e.g. the Notorious BIG's, seminal album Life after Death), has rarely featured in this genre so prominently. Not wanting to spoil the high point of this introspection, I will not reveal its context, but I must comment on this album's poem which gradually unfolds over the course of a number of tracks revealing more and more each time it is repeated and expanded upon. This is something I have never come across in a hip hop album and did not expect it from an artist like Kendrick, but it is testament to his confidence and prowess. The last recital of this poem is earth shattering.
Being introspective in this way however, does not encumber the melodic range and variation of To Pimp a Butterfly which features a diverse array of funk, jazz and hardcore rap sounds. Kendrick clearly listens to and appreciates many other genres of music, amounting to an incredible understanding of this art form. Whilst many tracks can be listened to in isolation of one another (see the standout track King Kunta), to do so would undermine the album which should be listened to and viewed as a singular piece of music, an introspective journey that will doubtless inform some of the best hip hop records for years, if not decades to come.
The best hip hop album of this year and likely this decade. 10/10
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- To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
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