Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is an intense, experimental, 80-minute album released on March 16th. Butterfly takes on a cinematic quality as it narrates black oppression and personal insecurity. He includes N.C. rapper Rapsody on the anti-colorism “Complexion,” and in “Mortal Man,” stages a conversation between himself and 2Pac, who comments “it’s gonna be like Nat Turner 1831.” Lamar incorporates jazz, most notably on “For Sale?”— and funk, which makes for a more interesting, complicated sound than other recent rap releases—I’m looking at you, Chris Brown and Drake. Lamar’s pro-black message in Butterfly is both timeless and immediate, and with Butterfly, Lamar is poised to take his place as one of the most influential rappers of the century.
– By Frances Beroset