Finally! Kendrick Lamar (K.Dot) drops his follow up to his freshman album Good Kid M.A.D. City (GKMC). His sophomore album titled To Pimp a Butterfly is nothing short of amazing. It has a lot of layers to it, its dense and complex. It took me a week to break down each track and listen to the message it was conveying. Some issues it tackles are depression, dealing with fame, social issues, and political issues. Its lyrically amazing, each track has some depth and meaning behind it. Not many people are going to like this album for the lack of “bangers” but if you look at Kendrick’s discography he didn’t have “bangers” till GKMC. As well bangers don’t make an album amazing, hip/hop is more than just a good beat. Anyway the best songs on this album to me are “King Kunta”, ” How Much Does A Dollar Cost, and “Mortal Man”.
“King Kunta” is a funky track, and its great. It makes me want to start dancing it gets you body moving. It can be seen as a banger for you that absolutely need a banger. But lyrically Kendrick is saying now everybody wants a piece of him because he is “running the game”, and he isn’t wrong. He is saying here basically before GKMC and that control verse nobody was praising him or trying to hear what he is saying. He ends the track with a short poem that continues to grow through out the album. Now that he has this fame he can do what Tupac was doing and send a message to people.
“How Much Does A Dollar Cost” is a song where Kendrick as he does so well tells a story. A story of him and homeless man who is begging for money and only wants a dollar. But like everyone else he thinks he is just going to spend the money on drugs so he holds tight to the money he has. Later after the man and K.Dot continue to stare at each other, and then the man asks K.Dot if he has ever read Exodus 14. This is from when Moses parted the red sea and let the Israelites to freedom. When Kendrick still refuses to give the man money he reveals his message behind the question of how much a dollar really costs. The homeless man says “I’ll tell you just how much a dollar cost the price of having a spot in Heaven, embrace your loss, I am God”. Basically the choice is heaven or hell once you start asking this question. It shows Kendrick’s loss of faith and his selfishness and how greed has come to him where he can’t even help another human.
Mortal Man is the most talked about track when the album came out for various reasons. The important reason is the interview with Tupac from 1994 that Kendrick sliced himself into. He begins to ask his fans if they are still fans once shit hits the fan, will they love him no matter what he does with his music. He wants to be a leader in this world to be like Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela, and JFK. He wants to change the world for the greater good to bring peace to this world, if not Compton anymore but to the whole country and world. He then goes onto finish the poem that he was repeating through out the album. He then as mentioned before begins to interview Tupac. This is a rare interview of Tupac talking of the power of music and a revolution for change.
This album is lyrically amazing like I said before. Every track is great; it didn’t disappoint me at all. At first I was just so confused and didn’t understand it. That’s why after one listen you can’t judge an album, you have to digest it takes a little longer to listen to and hear what the artist was trying to convey to you. This is what hip/hop needed right now, a hip/hop album going back to the roots of hip/hop none of this money and ho’s stuff. But a story and a message that had to be told and heard. Great album, go buy it if you want to hear a great album.