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Kendrick Lamar|To Pimp A Butterfly

To Pimp A Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar

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Becoming an adult ultimately means accepting one's imperfections, unimportance, and mortality, but that doesn't mean we stop striving for the ideal, a search that's so at the center of our very being that our greatest works of art celebrate it, and often amplify it. Anguish and despair rightfully earn more Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, and Pulitzer Prizes than sweetness and light ever do, but West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar is already on elevated masterwork number two, so expect his version of the sobering truth to sound like a party at points. He's aware, as Bilal sings here, that "Shit don't change 'til you get up and wash your ass," and don't it feel good? The sentiment is universal, but the viewpoint on his second LP is inner-city and African-American, as radio regulars like the Isley Brothers (sampled to perfection during the key track "I"), George Clinton (who helps make "Wesley's Theory" a cross between "Atomic Dog" and Dante's Inferno), and Dr. Dre (who literally phones his appearance in) put the listener in Lamar's era of Compton, just as well as Lou Reed took us to New York and Brecht took us to Weimar Republic Berlin. These G-funky moments are incredibly seductive, which helps usher the listener through the album's 80-minute runtime, plus its constant mutating (Pharrell productions, spoken word, soul power anthems, and sound collages all fly by, with few tracks ending as they began), much of it influenced, and sometimes assisted by, producer Flying Lotus and his frequent collaborator Thundercat. "u" sounds like an MP3 collection deteriorating, while the broken beat of the brilliant "Momma" will challenge the listener's balance, and yet, Lamar is such a prodigiously talented and seductive artist, his wit, wisdom, and wordplay knock all these stray molecules into place. Survivor's guilt, realizing one's destiny, and a Snoop Dogg performance of Doggystyle caliber are woven among it all; plus, highlights offer that Parliament-Funkadelic-styled subversion, as "The Blacker the Berry" ("The sweeter the juice") offers revolutionary slogans and dips for the hip. Free your mind, and your ass will follow, and at the end of this beautiful black berry, there's a miraculous "talk" between Kendrick and the legendary 2Pac, as the brutalist trailblazer mentors this profound populist. To Pimp a Butterfly is as dark, intense, complicated, and violent as Picasso's Guernica, and should hold the same importance for its genre and the same beauty for its intended audience.
© David Jeffries /TiVo

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To Pimp A Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar

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1
Wesley's Theory Explicit
00:04:47

S. Ellison, ComposerLyricist - George Clinton, FeaturedArtist, ComposerLyricist - Flying Lotus, Producer - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Ronald Colson, Producer - R. Colson, ComposerLyricist - Thundercat, FeaturedArtist - S. Bruner, ComposerLyricist - B. Gardiner, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

2
For Free? (Interlude) Explicit
00:02:10

T. Martin, ComposerLyricist - Terrace Martin, Producer - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - R. McKinney, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

3
King Kunta Explicit
00:03:54

J. Burns, ComposerLyricist - A. Lewis, ComposerLyricist - S. Gordy, ComposerLyricist - D. Blake, ComposerLyricist - M. Jackson, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

4
Institutionalized Explicit
00:04:31

C. Smith, ComposerLyricist - Snoop Dogg, FeaturedArtist - Bilal, FeaturedArtist - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Anna Wise, FeaturedArtist - Rahki, Producer - F. Halldin, Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

5
These Walls Explicit
00:05:00

T. Martin, ComposerLyricist - J. Fauntleroy, ComposerLyricist - Terrace Martin, Producer - Bilal, FeaturedArtist - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Larrance Dopson, Producer - L. Dopson, ComposerLyricist - Thundercat, FeaturedArtist - Anna Wise, FeaturedArtist - R. McKinney, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

6
u Explicit
00:04:28

M. Brown, ComposerLyricist - Taz Arnold, Producer - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - T. Arnold, ComposerLyricist - Whoare, Producer

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

7
Alright Explicit
00:03:39

P. Williams, ComposerLyricist - Pharrell Williams, Producer - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

8
For Sale? (Interlude) Explicit
00:04:51

Taz Arnold, Producer - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - T. Arnold, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

9
Momma Explicit
00:04:43

R. Patterson, ComposerLyricist - S. Stewart, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - R Rideout, ComposerLyricist - T. Arnold, ComposerLyricist - G. Boothe, ComposerLyricist - Eulaulah Hathaway, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

10
Hood Politics Explicit
00:04:52

D. Perkins, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - S. Stevens, ComposerLyricist - Thundercat, Producer - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - S. Bruner, ComposerLyricist - Tae Beast, Producer

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

11
How Much A Dollar Cost Explicit
00:04:21

T. Martin, ComposerLyricist - James Fauntleroy, FeaturedArtist - J. Fauntleroy, ComposerLyricist - Ronald Isley, FeaturedArtist, ComposerLyricist - J. LEIMBERG, ComposerLyricist - Dr. Dre, Producer - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - R. McKinney, ComposerLyricist - LoveDragon, Producer

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

12
Complexion (A Zulu Love) Explicit
00:04:23

Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Rapsody, FeaturedArtist - Thundercat, Producer - M. Evans, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - S. Bruner, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

13
The Blacker The Berry Explicit
00:05:28

J. Campbell, ComposerLyricist - Ken Lewis, ComposerLyricist - Matthew Samuels, ComposerLyricist - Terrace Martin, Producer - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Brent Kolatalo, ComposerLyricist - Boi-1da, Producer - Stephen Kozmeniuk, ComposerLyricist - Z. Epstein, ComposerLyricist - A. Izquierdo, ComposerLyricist - The Koz, Producer

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

14
You Ain't Gotta Lie (Momma Said) Explicit
00:04:01

T. Martin, ComposerLyricist - J. LEIMBERG, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - R. McKinney, ComposerLyricist - LoveDragon, Producer

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

15
i Explicit
00:05:36

Marvin Isley, ComposerLyricist - C. Smith, ComposerLyricist - Christopher Jasper, ComposerLyricist - Ernest Isley, ComposerLyricist - Ronald Isley, ComposerLyricist - RUDOLPH ISLEY, ComposerLyricist - O'Kelly Isley Jr., ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Rahki, Producer

℗ 2014 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

16
Mortal Man Explicit
00:12:07

Kendrick Lamar, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - S. Bruner, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer - F. Anikulapo, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Aftermath/Interscope (Top Dawg Entertainment)

Album Description

Becoming an adult ultimately means accepting one's imperfections, unimportance, and mortality, but that doesn't mean we stop striving for the ideal, a search that's so at the center of our very being that our greatest works of art celebrate it, and often amplify it. Anguish and despair rightfully earn more Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, and Pulitzer Prizes than sweetness and light ever do, but West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar is already on elevated masterwork number two, so expect his version of the sobering truth to sound like a party at points. He's aware, as Bilal sings here, that "Shit don't change 'til you get up and wash your ass," and don't it feel good? The sentiment is universal, but the viewpoint on his second LP is inner-city and African-American, as radio regulars like the Isley Brothers (sampled to perfection during the key track "I"), George Clinton (who helps make "Wesley's Theory" a cross between "Atomic Dog" and Dante's Inferno), and Dr. Dre (who literally phones his appearance in) put the listener in Lamar's era of Compton, just as well as Lou Reed took us to New York and Brecht took us to Weimar Republic Berlin. These G-funky moments are incredibly seductive, which helps usher the listener through the album's 80-minute runtime, plus its constant mutating (Pharrell productions, spoken word, soul power anthems, and sound collages all fly by, with few tracks ending as they began), much of it influenced, and sometimes assisted by, producer Flying Lotus and his frequent collaborator Thundercat. "u" sounds like an MP3 collection deteriorating, while the broken beat of the brilliant "Momma" will challenge the listener's balance, and yet, Lamar is such a prodigiously talented and seductive artist, his wit, wisdom, and wordplay knock all these stray molecules into place. Survivor's guilt, realizing one's destiny, and a Snoop Dogg performance of Doggystyle caliber are woven among it all; plus, highlights offer that Parliament-Funkadelic-styled subversion, as "The Blacker the Berry" ("The sweeter the juice") offers revolutionary slogans and dips for the hip. Free your mind, and your ass will follow, and at the end of this beautiful black berry, there's a miraculous "talk" between Kendrick and the legendary 2Pac, as the brutalist trailblazer mentors this profound populist. To Pimp a Butterfly is as dark, intense, complicated, and violent as Picasso's Guernica, and should hold the same importance for its genre and the same beauty for its intended audience.
© David Jeffries /TiVo

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