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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly


Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp A Butterfly" is a really great hip-hop record. Like, seriously, it is one of the best hip-hop records that has come to be in recent years.

There have, of course, been other rappers, to play the game Kendrick does. Saul Williams is one and, perhaps most notably, Tupac was another. However, Conscious hip-hop isn't a very popular style. 

Part of this may be due to the fact that it is rather difficult. Yet, Kendrick handles heavy topics with finesse. He managed to, on his last record "Good Kid, Mad City" turn a song about alcoholism into a great single. On "Good Kid," Kendrick was able to talk about the duality between being who you are and belonging. 

That being said, there was one issue that I and a few others had with "Good Kid," and that was, despite its finesse and Kendrick's great flow, it felt a little bit too trendy. When I first threw on "Good Kid," I couldn't help but feel that it was hip-hop for hipsters and, due to that feeling, I was not fully able to enjoy it.

Here on "To Pimp A Butterfly," however, Kendrick has managed to prove that he is doing this his way and being trendy doesn't matter in the slightest. 

This album is a progression and is in every way better than "Good Kid."

Yet, there is an issue. Good as this album is it is, perhaps, a little too talked about. Perhaps because this album is doing something that hasn't been seen in so long people are talking a little too much about it. Future listeners, I am afraid, may find this record lacking.

So I will tell you, good as this album is there are some issue. Kendrick does sometimes sound obnoxious and on a few songs it seems as though Kendrick will spit a line or two and then just back into a chorus. 

Like many Hip-Hop records this album is a big listen. It is long and, because it deals with big themes, it can feel as though you are being buried under some depression. Even at the albums "high" point I feel a little bit beaten down.

However, to those that are curious and really want to listen to this record, I urge to check it out. It is great. Perhaps it isn't the classic that everyone is saying, hardly any album is as perfect as you hear. Walk into this album knowing it is about the human experience and is, therefore, a human product, not a fashioning of some deity and you will find a harrowing experience.