5 years ago today, Kendrick Lamar released his 3rd album, To Pimp a Butterfly. To Pimp a Butterfly was the follow-up to his classic, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. As many of you may know, Kendrick Lamar is my favorite new school rapper along with J. Cole. To Pimp a Butterfly went on to sell over a million copies and won a Grammy for Best Rap album. The album received its fair share of praise and criticism. It was ranked as the best album of 2015 by many publications, including Rolling Stone, Billboard and Pitchfork. The album incorporates elements of jazz, funk, soul, spoken word, and avant-garde music and explores a variety of political and personal themes concerning African-American culture, racial inequality, depression, and institutional discrimination. Kendrick Lamar released his first single back in September of 2014.
I was the name and it won two awards at the 2015 Grammy Awards: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. The single went on to go platinum and built anticipation for the album. The second single, The Blacker the Berry and it eventually went gold. King Kunta was the third single from To Pimp a Butterfly and it went platinum also. “King Kunta” also borrows ideas from 2Pac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” video. In the beginning of “California Love”, ‘Pac goes to the Compton Swap Meet to look for some clothes to wear to the party later that night.’ In “King Kunta”, Lamar gets on top of the Swap Meet and raps to an adoring crowd below. Wal-Mart has officially purchased the Swap Meet, so the video is both Lamar’s shout-out to ‘Pac & Dre and a “goodbye party” to the Compton institution.
Kendrick Lamar released his fourth single in the summer of 2015, and it was called Alright. The song was associated with Black Lives Matter after several youth-led protests were heard chanting the chorus, with some publications calling “Alright” the “unifying soundtrack” of the movement. The award winning Alright went on to go platinum also and was one of the best songs of 2010s. These Walls was the final single from To Pimp a Butterfly. It won Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. Overall, the album is great but not as good as Good Kid, M.A.A.D though. If you’re a fan of great west coast music, this weekend has been great. On Friday, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Me Against the World and yesterday E40’s In a Major Way. Check out the track listing below and it’s followed by the stream links.
- Wesley’s Theory ft. George Clinton & Thundercat
- For Free? [Interlude]
- King Kunta
- Institutionalized ft. Anna Wise, Bilal & Snoop Dogg
- These Walls ft. Anna Wise, Bilal & Thundercat
- For Sale? [Interlude]
- Hood Politics
- How Much A Dollar Cost ft. James Fauntleroy & Ronald Isley
- Complexion (A Zulu Love) ft. Rapsody
- The Blacker the Berry
- You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said)
- Mortal Man