To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly
Critic Score
Based on 45 reviews
2015 Ratings: #1 / 996
Year End Rank: #1
User Score
2015 Ratings: #1
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Spin
This album is mandatory listening; serious rap fans who shun Mr. West due to his interfering personality (or Wayne, Drake, Nicki, Jay and Em) don't have that out here because Kendrick doesn't pretend to be Hova or Yeezus — just another young black man that Uncle Sam's ready to fuck up.
100
NOW Magazine

He meets that challenge - ramping up his musicality with elements of funk, doo-wop, jazz and spoken-word poetry, debuting a dizzying number of new cadences and diving deeper into the ever-evolving question of what it means to be black in America.

100
Entertainment Weekly

Lamar operates in the same boldly visionary idiom as the Purple One, expanding the boundaries of the hip-hop empire and daring other aspirants to the throne—yes, even Kanye, even Jay—to play catch-up.

100
Drowned in Sound
This is an important – a very important – piece of work that will stand the test of time. It’s also an utter blast to listen to and live with.
100
No Ripcord

That To Pimp A Butterfly forces difficult questions both sociopolitical and aesthetic is testament to its brilliance. It is an album that can be, even deserves to be annotated song-by-song, line-by-line.

100
The Telegraph

This is a dense, intricate mesh of free-flowing jazz, deep Seventies funk and cut-up hip hop with a verbose, hyper-articulate rapper switching up styles and tempos to address contemporary racial politics in a poetic narrative built around a long dark night of the soul.

100
The Needle Drop

Several years ago, Kendrick Lamar was hip hop's underdog. Today, he's dropping what's possibly the best rap album of the decade.

100
Tiny Mix Tapes

Underlying To Pimp a Butterfly’s system of contradictions is a narrative of hope against the brutality of the systematic destruction of the unity of the culture, the murderous cops and the drug wars — that hope is in the possibilities of consciousness, that ever elusive revolutionary power that makes us all rulers of this world.

100
The 405
Proving that he'll keep us guessing for years to come, Kendrick has truly solidified his place in rap history with this album.
100
Consequence of Sound
While the album is a lyrical landmark above all, there’s no missing that it’s a rich body of work all around.
100
AllMusic

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.

100
The Observer

Jazz is a brave place to go, even for a man from Compton. But Lamar is fearless in his scope here, both lyrically and sonically.

100
HipHopDX

To Pimp A Butterfly is ambitious in its attempt to inspire a generation to change the world for the better and poignant enough to actually do so.

100
Time Out London
‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ makes no attempt at the charts, or even hip hop radio. Instead, it’s aimed squarely at the musical canon that inspires it.
100
The Young Folks

At its basest, beyond its incredibly complicated racial politics, it’s an appeal to love, thought, and conversation.

100
The Arts Desk

The album is steeped in the history and culture of racial politics to an impressive and comprehensive degree, some of it raw and scatalogical, some of it subtly allusive.

100
The Irish Times

It’s the lyrical content which resonates and rockets, Lamar throwing erudite punches and picking intellectual fights all over the shop.

100
Pretty Much Amazing

Its politics may offend and its sonics may perplex, but there is no doubt that Butterfly is one of the year’s most fascinating and impressive musical artifacts.

95
AllHipHop

Kendrick stretches his creative legs all the way out on this one, an indication that a new beginning is here.

94
Sputnikmusic
Every song possesses a distinctive identity, a different color fleshed out by its instrumentation. And the lyrical wonders Lamar works on top of all this is even more worthy of praise.
93
Pitchfork

Underneath the tragedy and adversity, To Pimp a Butterfly is a celebration of the audacity to wake up each morning to try to be better, knowing it could all end in a second, for no reason at all.

91
A.V. Club

Where Good Kid was a linear story, To Pimp A Butterfly is an 80-minute pileup of loose ends, unfinished thoughts, and contradictions. Lamar will hint at a conclusion, then refute it; point fingers, then redirect them.

90
Gigwise

Super smart, super funky, To Pimp A Butterfly is the perfect showcase of Kendrick wit and wisdom.

90
God Is in the TV

To Pimp A Butterfly is a brilliant record where Lamar hasn’t repeated what he’s already done. It’s a dense, unsettling and challenging record; it’s also an extremely compelling one.

90
Crack Magazine

While To Pimp A Butterfly is densely layered, Kendrick Lamar’s core message is loud and clear.

90
musicOMH
Musically, this is vivid, defiantly unpredictable and, if yielded to, completely engaging.
90
FLOOD Magazine

Every genius idea is accompanied by a terrible one, and for that To Pimp a Butterfly is Kendrick Lamar’s masterpiece—fascinating, upsetting, and somehow totally wrong.

90
Billboard

Despite the bold declarations, beautiful beats and brash imagery, To Pimp a Butterfly is not an announcement, it's a conversation.

90
Complex

With all its superfly flourish and talk of Willie Lynch, Butterfly is heady and ambitious, if not unprecedented as subject matter. As promised, Butterfly is (somehow) darker and more thoroughly conflicted than good kid.

90
Under The Radar

To Pimp a Butterfly is Lamar firmly embracing his place at the pulpit, looking into himself and out into the world simultaneously, and using his influence to paint a powerful, enduring picture of the black American experience.

90
Exclaim!

Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly ... will likely be one of 2015's most discussed, dissected and debated album releases, regardless of genre.

90
FasterLouder

To Pimp A Butterfly is like a modernist novel, one that rewards re-reading, comes with unreliable narrators, has lengthy interior monologues, and embraces a grand narrative.

90
The Line of Best Fit
It’s hard to escape the conclusion that he did, in the end, make his deal with the Devil. But the result is a really excellent album: uncompromising, thoughtful, and with enough buried complexities to keep people arguing for years to come.
90
Slant Magazine

Tidy this album isn't, but like There's a Riot Goin' On or the distended jams of One Nation Under a Groove, the uncompromising messiness is the point.

90
Rolling Stone

If we're talking insurgent content and currency, Lamar straight up owns rap relevancy on Butterfly, whatever challengers to the throne barely visible in his dusty rear-view.

90
PopMatters

To Pimp a Butterfly is the result of one man’s sprawling journey, but it’s meant to empower us all to take our own. It’s a rare record that gives us a call to action, something to act on after the beats drop out and we’re left in silence.

80
Mojo

To Pimp A Butterfly attempts to the tackle the issues of the day without recourse to blunt, shallow sloganeering.

80
The Guardian

Time will tell whether in decades to come, To Pimp a Butterfly is still being spoken of in the same breath as the kind of epochal albums it’s currently being compared to, but for the moment, he’s certainly achieved his aim in impressive style.

80
DIY
On the evidence of ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, Lamar’s work continues to place itself among the best.
80
The Sydney Morning Herald

His breakthrough, 2012's Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, used autobiographical details from his youth in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton to provide a tight focus, but the new album is expansive, mixing live musicians and sparse beats with vintage jazz and R&B samples.

80
NME

Has Lamar followed a classic with another classic? Not quite, but in laying his demons and his contradictions bare, he has stayed true to his formidable talent.

75
Spectrum Culture

To Pimp a Butterfly proudly shows every complexity, flaw and insecurity right next to the boasts, the talent and the brief moments of optimism.

79

don't trust anyone that gives this below an 80

update: yeah no, this is legendary

TheGod
100

Pretty proud of you, my son

zachthesnack
100

When you hear the next Pop

THE FUNK SHALL BE WITHIN YOU

88

Genuinely a great album and a masterpiece. It gave a new golden standard for rap albums and became an instant classic , but I tought the interlude and spoken time in the songs were a bit too long even tough they were coherant to the timeline. I also loved the theme of the album which showcase the hard and simply outrageous lifestyle of african-americans in United States. Even after all that praise, I don't think it's a perfect album nor even close. It's good. It's great. It's incredible. But I ... read more

tiredtinyturtle
70

I have been procrastinating on listening to this album since I started reviewing music. I sat down to listen to it and even fell asleep twice in the middle of the afternoon. So I finally drank some tea and loaded myself before listening to "To Pimp A Butterfly". Kendrick's personality in this album feels like a combination of making it and living for the people that couldn't, plus anger for those deaths and the people that caused it. People are probably going to question why this ... read more

chandruh
100

enlightening

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Added on: March 11, 2015