Sunday, March 22, 2015
Final Grade: A+
First of all, I want to point out that I don't think I've ever given an A+ on this blog. A few A's, but not an A+. Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly was more than deserving of it! It's hard to follow up a classic with another classic, but Kendrick did just that, and it may be better than the first. I've listened to good kid, m.A.A.d city probably over 100 times, so it's difficult to say, but I really think that overall, his sophomore effort is better. I can't remember the last time I heard a record that was so honest, so heartfelt, raw, emotional, gritty, and all executed so flawlessly - and that is just from a lyrical standpoint. And particularly in hip-hop. In a day in age where the majority of rap is about flaunting how much money you have, or how many bitches you got, Kendrick came with something that was real (something that I loved about his first record), he has an actual story to tell the people. I don't give a fuck if you have millions of dollars, because that is not something that I can relate to! Being depressed, not knowing where your life is going, feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders - that (while on a much lesser scale) is some shit that not only I can relate to, but many other people in the world as well. And in particular the black and brown youth of this country. Kendrick is reaching out to a demographic that, for the most part in the public eye, is made to feel less than, unless he is a rapper making money and fucking bitches. Well, Kendrick is a rapper, and he's still feeling all of the same feelings that everyday people do, because he is just that - a person! This record, particularly for the conflicts that are occurring currently in our society, is for all of those who feel less then because they are told to feel as such by society. Kendrick is not just a rapper, he is a poet, he is a songwriter, he is a PREACHER! I'm not a religious person, but this album is the closest thing I've had to going to church in a hot fucking minute. And not only is he spitting bars like no one else in the game, but musically this is one of the most advanced albums to be released in popular music in YEARS. I mean, even the 64 year old, white, jazz pianist I'm on tour with right now says so, and he doesn't like the majority of popular music he hears! He brought on George Clinton and Ronald Isley! I bet that there are a large number of people my age who don't even know who those cats are (which is a fucking shame)! The dude is rapping over funk, over jazz, over rock - this record seeps versatility from top to bottom! I was hoping that I wasn't going to be disappointed by Kendrick's follow up, but I wasn't expecting to be blown out of the fucking water! He just schooled every rapper out there on flow, lyricism, musicality, the whole damn thing, and I could not be more ecstatic! I haven't been this excited about a record, well...since his last one, and this one has me even more out of my skin! It's beautiful, it's poetic, it's happy, it's sad, it's angry, it's frustratred, it is absolutely everything you want out of an album, and not just a hip hop or rap album, but any album. It is perfection in every sense of the word, and I could not have dreamed of a better way to close out this album-reviewing journey. Thank you, Kendrick Lamar, thank you.