Dre and Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith. The music of To Pimp a Butterfly incorporates a variety of styles from traditional African-American music , including jazz , funk , soul , spoken word , and avant-garde.
Lyrically, it features political commentary and personal themes concerning African-American culture , racial inequality , depression , and institutional discrimination. This thematic direction was inspired by Lamar's tour of historic sites during his visit to South Africa, such as Nelson Mandela 's jail cell on Robben Island. To Pimp a Butterfly sold , copies in the US in its first week of release, earning a chart debut at number one on the US Billboard , while also becoming Lamar's first number-one album in the UK.
Five singles were released in promotion of the album, including the top 40 hit " I ". Lamar also supported the album with the Kunta's Groove Sessions Tour from late to early To Pimp a Butterfly received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised its musical scope and the social relevance of Lamar's lyrics.
It earned Lamar 11 nominations at the Grammy Awards , which was the most nominations for any rapper in a single night, including a win for Best Rap Album and an Album of the Year nomination. In the years following its release, several publications have named it one of the best albums of the decade.
On February 28, , Kendrick Lamar first revealed the plans to release a follow-up to his second studio album, Good Kid, M. D City , during an interview with Billboard. Co-producer Sounwave spoke on Lamar's visit, saying, "I remember he [Lamar] took a trip to [South] Africa and something in his mind just clicked. For me, that's when this album really started. I saw all the things that I wasn't taught. Probably one of the hardest things to do is put [together] a concept on how beautiful a place can be, and tell a person this while they're still in the ghettos of Compton.
I wanted to put that experience in the music. There's a separation between the light and the dark skin because it's just in our nature to do so, but we're all black. This concept came from South Africa and I saw all these different colors speaking a beautiful language. Lamar kept all the tracks, but only opener "Wesley's Theory", which also features Thundercat and George Clinton , made the final cut onto the album. Interlude " that was ultimately discarded, with Lamar using Taz Arnold's version of the song on the album instead.
Lotus stated that it is unlikely his version of the song will see a release. Lamar had requested that 9th Wonder contact Rapsody and request her appearance. Rapsody and Lamar discussed the song but there was little instruction from Lamar regarding her contribution.
Speaking about the song, she stated that Lamar had already decided on the concept of the song and stated that the only instructions he gave were the song's title and the idea that " Reportedly, at one time it featured a guest appearance from American rapper Fabolous. Afterwards, producer Thundercat was brought into the process, after Flying Lotus brought him along to see Lamar's performance on The Yeezus Tour. Although the version of "I" appearing on the album is drastically different from that on the single release, both versions contained a sample of the song " That Lady " performed by The Isley Brothers.
Lamar personally visited The Isley Brothers, to receive permission from lead vocalist Ronald Isley to sample the song. Lamar began traveling to St. Louis and began working with Isley at the studio.
Interlude ", "Momma" and "Hood Politics". He would sing out the melody and some of the words, and I would interpret what he was telling me. In , Lamar released Untitled Unmastered , a compilation album, which contains previously unreleased demos that originated during the recording of To Pimp a Butterfly. According to producer Thundercat, it "completes the sentence" of Lamar's third studio album. According to musicologist Will Fulton, To Pimp a Butterfly engages in and celebrates the black music tradition. Much like the singer D'Angelo on his album Black Messiah , Lamar "consciously indexes African American musical styles of the past in a dynamic relationship of nostalgic revivalism and vanguardism.
He incorporated everything that was going on [in Africa] and in his life to complete a million-piece puzzle. I hear something different every time. I heard Cuban elements in it the other day.
Stereogum described To Pimp a Butterfly as an "ambitious avant-jazz-rap statement,"  and The Source categorized the album as an experimental hip hop release. The album explores a variety of political and personal themes related to race, culture, and discrimination. Critic Neil Kulkarni said it appraises "the broken promises and bloody pathways in and out of America's heartland malaise",  while Billboard categorized it as a "politically-charged" conscious rap album,  Jay Caspian Kang observed elements of critical race theory , respectability politics , theology , and meta-analysis examining Lamar's success and revered status in the hip hop community.
While " Roots compresses and simplifies" black history, Graham said To Pimp a Butterfly "radically disrupt[s] meanings of black respectability, heroic morality, trauma, and memory. McLeod Jr. D City explore topics such as addiction, anxiety , depression , and resilience. The album continues a nuanced dialogue about weighty topics that affect the African-American community. Releasing his album in a time of renewed black activism, Lamar's song "Alright" has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lamar takes his opinions further to lend his position on black crime in the song " The Blacker the Berry ". He criticizes himself and his community by rapping, "So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street? Some critics claim that his attitude facilitates the rhetoric that silences the Black Lives Matter movement. Stereo Williams of The Daily Beast wrote in response to his lyrics that "it's dangerous to use that violence as a silencing tactic when the public is angry about the systematic subjugation of black people.
Lamar has offered explanations of the meanings behind songs such as "Wesley's Theory" and " King Kunta ". Interlude " sees Lamar rapping in a dense, spoken word-esque manner with musical accompaniment by jazz pianist Robert Glasper.
Yet at the end of each verse, he reassures himself that "We gon' be alright"—a simple rallying cry for a nation reeling from gun violence and police brutality. The album was originally going to be titled Tu Pimp a Caterpillar , a backronym for Tu. For me, it represents using my celebrity for good. Another reason is, not being pimped by the industry through my celebrity It gets even deeper than that for me.
I could be talking all day about it. It's a trip. That's something that will be a phrase forever. It'll be taught in college courses—I truly believe that. The album's CD release included a booklet produced with braille letterings; according to Lamar, these characters when translated reveal the "actual full title of the album.
The album's release was preceded by the release of two singles, "I", on September 23, ,  and "The Blacker the Berry" in February Interlude " also featured visuals,  as did "U" with "For Sale? Interlude " as part of the short film God Is Gangsta. To Pimp a Butterfly was first released to the iTunes Store and Spotify on March 15, , eight days ahead of its scheduled release date. To Pimp a Butterfly was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic , which assigns a normalized rating out of to reviews from professional publications, the album received an average score of 96, based on 44 reviews.
At the end of , To Pimp a Butterfly was the most frequently ranked record in top ten lists of the year's best albums. According to Metacritic, it appeared times in the top ten of lists published by critics, magazines, websites, and music stores.
On their lists of best albums of the decade, The Independent placed it first,  Consequence of Sound second,  Rolling Stone third,  and Pitchfork fourth. To Pimp a Butterfly also earned Lamar 11 nominations at the Grammy Awards , which was the most nominations for any rapper in a single night. The album's immediate influence was felt as "a pantheon for racial empowerment", according to Butler, who also argued that the record helped create a respected space for conscious hip hop and "will be revered not just at the top of some list at the end of the year, but in the subconscious of music fans for decades to come".
It just didn't change the music. It changed the audience. He threw everything on there, and that's exactly what we wanted to do. And with Thundercat on the album?
Come on. You're not taking "Alright" off my playlist! Credits adapted from the album's liner notes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Kendrick Lamar. Notifi St. Louis No Excuses Santa Monica. Bass player Thundercat left and singer Bilal are among the musicians who contributed to the album. Lamar's lyrics explore the results of institutional racism. Flying Lotus Flippa Sounwave [a] Thundercat [a]. Sounwave Martin [a]. Rahki Tommy Black. Martin Dopson Sounwave [a]. Duckworth Taz Arnold Michael Brown. Arnold Whoarei Sounwave [a].
Duckworth Pharrell Williams Spears. Arnold Sounwave [a] Martin [a]. Knxwledge Arnold. Tae Beast Sounwave Thundercat. Duckworth Bruner Spears Marlanna Evans.