So roughly a year ago Kendrick Lamar released his second official album, To Pimp A Butterfly.
This album was heavily anticipated and hyped, especially after the Grammy's pulled a Montreal Screwjob the year before and gave Macklemore hiphop album of the year. Matter of fact lets call that the Macklemore Screwjob.
We didn't know what to expect from Kendrick, Good Kid MAAD City was the autobiographical tale of a black youth trying to find his place in a hectic world. Usually the story ends there, but what happens to Tre after he leaves da Hood? To Pimp A Butterfly was to be the answer to this question.
Well thats what we expected, what we got was something a little bit different.
In the time between GKMC and TPAB we as a nation watched numerous young males get gunned down by the police. Every month we saw a new name hashtagged, a new grieving mother interviewed, a new spiteful chant screamed by an angry populous, unfortunately we got the same results; not guilty.
Kendrick saw this and felt the pain we all did, so he decided to make an album that was profoundly black. Shit the cover is a group of niggas mobbin on the white house lawn. This is blackness.
When it came out it was lauded as a classic, it won Grammys and was treated as the second coming of Christ. To be honest I wasn't much of a fan. It felt like people exaggerated its greatness because they felt guilty about Macklemore and seeing dead black males on TV, so instead of creating an opinion they agreed that it was great. "I'm not a racist, I LOVE TPAB"
Now however, I'm in a different headspace, I just watched another black man get gunned down, my dads in Zimbabwe while there's riots going on throughout the capital, I feel tense hopelessness as a black man in the world. With all the potential I've been taught to believe in I don't know where to apply it; this is how Kendrick feels.
This album is Kendrick saying "I am in strange place in my life, people love me for my talent but hate me for things I can't control" He wants to do everything on every track: save the world, express his anxiety and shame hoes. Man he really does love shaming hoes.
Rap is misogynistic, a lot of it is based in hyper masculinity, being a "superthug" so with that ideal comes the idea that women are not to be respected. There have been strides made but there's also a long way to go. Kendrick's kind of misogynistic in the sense that he likes to tell women how they SHOULD act. This is to me is worse than a Gucci or Migos level of misogyny because Kendrick is supposed to be "WOKE". Where Migos and Gucci rap about what they know and when they learn more they change their perspective, Kendrick almost refuses to. From his first mixtape to now Kendrick's vision of the world has been molded and shaped by new vast experiences, but at the same time he's referred to women the same way for like 6 years. I could go on and on about this subject but I'll save it for a conversation about feminism with a girl I wanna sleep with.
Now besides all this, To Pimp A Butterfly is a very uncomfortable album. Some tracks are turnt, some tracks are relaxed, Kendrick does a spoken word poem/conversation with 2pac, its hard to read. Remember that seen in Boyz n Da Hood where Tre throws air punches cuz he feels so angry about how helpless he is? This album is like that for about an hour.
Despite the unorganized thought and passion, I respect that Kendrick made this album. It feels like I've peaked into the mind of a young black man who's got the whole world on his shoulders. To Pimp a Butterfly is a hiphop anxiety attack. Sometimes I need to listen to it, but most of the time I can do with out.
I give this 8 cans of Murray's Beeswax out of 10.