It's now been an entire year since I've joined this site, 280+ ratings and 150+ reviews aswell as 440+ followers later, it's been a great year. I couldn't thank this site enough for not only allowing me to expand my music taste which was beforehand just eminem, NF, Joyner Lucas and Logic, but this site has allowed me to meet so many cool people and make lots of friends from it's amazing community. I hardly even see this site as a music reviewing place anymore (even though that's what it is) more than I see it as a place where I can just meet people and make friends and I wanna thank anyone who I've ever had had a positive interaction with on the site, even if that's just one 5 minute conversation, it all means a lot to me.
So as a representation of my gratitude, here are some of the people who are among my favourites on the site whether that be because I enjoy their reviews, their taste aligns well with my own or even I just simply think that you're cool.
@MickyT - Probably the person that I talk to most regularly on the whole site. Consistently a really cool, funny and nice person to talk too. I've loved doing the mini series that we have been doing together over the months (we need to get back onto doing those though)
@Noz - Another user which I talk to a lot. I always enjoy joining discord voice chats with you.
@CLJesse the first user that I started talking to when I first joined the website. You helped me a lot with meeting different people on the site by inviting to me to the aotd server and although I'm not that active on that server anymore on very grateful.
@Theryanhimself @nostalgia @Mirroredcomfort @TomBejoy @PipePanic @Chode @DoubleZ @Matt @Otorio @redbded @Cry @TehSniper_143 @BGL13 @Dominic @ConcreteCastles @Nightwing734 @ThomasLind @elitimesfour @schmoobin @Scre4meh @fucktobymaguire
And finally I'd like to thank @Dano for being the one who introduced me to the site. For those who aren't already, please go an drop him a follow as he is really close to 100 followers and I'm sure he would appreciate it.
The actual review:
To pimp a butterfly is among one of the first albums that I listened to when I began to become fond of listening to music back in January last year. It was the first album that I considered to be perfect and to this day it still remains as my favourite album of all time. With its dense and intricate instrumentals and interesting song writing with themes of family, social injustice against black people, the music industry and overall this album, while not being as much of a straight forward story that Kendrick told on good kid m.A.A.d city, is a story in which Kendrick Lamar tries to stick to his roots while being a huge influential figure after leaving Compton.
The production on this album takes a bit more of a left field turn compared to his previous album, good kid m.A.A.d city, which for the most part was pretty trendy in terms of the production choices, while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, to pimp a butterfly is much more creative and layered with its instrumentals as Kendrick raps over numerous jazz, funk, soul and hardcore hip-hop instrumentals. These all sound really pristine and lush.
The lyrical content is simply excellent on this album with the aforementioned themes of racism, family, and Kendrick Lamar learning to adapt to his new surroundings as a influential and famous figure. There are a number of tracks which have compelling stories and messaging behind them. The track "u" is one of the most emotionally crushing tracks I've ever heard, it consists on Kendrick Lamar beating himself up and blaming himself for leaving his family and not being there for a death of a loved one in a drunken rage.
"The Blacker The Berry" which is the most hard hitting track on the album with Kendrick's bombastic, explosive delivery and flows where he expresses his anger towards racists meanwhile embracing all of the different slurs that are used against black people. What is especially impressive and what used to always give me goosebumps upon listening is how at the start of every verse, kendrick states that he is "the biggest hypocrite of 2015" when rapping about racism towards black people, then at the very end it is revealed that the reason he refers to himself as a hypocrite is because of how he has killed people blacker than himself due to the gang violence he had taken apart of while growing up in Compton.
After all of the pain, anguish and life lessons that Kendrick Lamar has gone through while adjusting to life of a famous rapper, the penultimate track "i" rolls around. It's a track that feels like a victory lap after the rollercoaster of emotions that Kendrick has taken us through for the duration of the album. This is even more so with the rawness and pure joy that the live version of the song emits as Kendrick Lamar has learnt self love.
Of course the most iconic feature of To Pimp A Butterfly has got to be the poem that Kendrick recites and progresses through in most of the the tracks. With each extra part of the poem being an indicator towards the themes of the next track. This poem gets continues and continues until it leads up to the final track "Mortal Man" where it is revealed that Kendrick is reading this poem to deceased rap icon, 2pac. While the conversation with 2pac is mind blowing enough, "Mortal Man" also serves as a great tie up to the album and explains all of its themes perfectly.
Best tracks: u, The Blacker The Berry, How Much A Dollar Cost, Alright, King Kunta, Wesley's Theory, Complexion (A Zulu Love), Hood Politics, i, You Ain't Gotta Lie (Momma Said)