To Pimp A Butterfly
Producers: Thundercat, Terrace Martin, Sounwave, Flying Lotus, Rahki
There’s no debate Kendrick Lamar had the best album of the year. Sonically, lyrically, conceptually, reception-wise, there’s no competition. Coming off his first album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, widely regarded as a classic, all eyes were on Kendrick’s follow-up—which would have to avoid the perceived sophomore jinx, as well as continue the trajectory set in motion by GKMC, leaving little room for error. Kendrick never found that room for error. To Pimp A Butterfly is a Hip Hop reinvention of What’s Going On, with classic jazz interpolation and the wicked lyrical dexterity of a Kendrick Lamar as hungry to be the best emcee as he is hungry to provide direction to Black people worldwide. The album opens with chants of “every n*gga is a star” and is intermissioned by one of his biggest hits, “Alright,” a 2015 rendition of “We Shall Overcome” and the unofficial anthem of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. If Vince Staples is the hood’s best reporter, Kendrick is its best strategist, flipping the commentary into visions for those looking for direction. All hail King Kendrick.