"Semen stains the mountaintops"

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To Pimp A Butterfly (album) by Kendrick Lamar 

This album At A Glance
To Pimp A Butterfly
To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar (2015)
Release date: 2015-03-16
Overall rank: 68th   Overall chart history
Average Rating: 
89/100 (from 1,299 votes)
  Ratings distribution
Accolades: Best album of 2015 (1st)
Top 10 albums of the 2010s (3rd)
Top 100 albums of all time (68th)

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Kendrick Lamar bestography

To Pimp A Butterfly is ranked as the best album by Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick Lamar album bestography « Higher ranked This album (68th) Lower ranked (73rd) »
-To Pimp A ButterflyGood Kid, M.A.A.D City

Members who like this album also like: Good Kid, M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West and The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.

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To Pimp A Butterfly rankings

To Pimp A Butterfly ratings

Average Rating: 
89/100 (from 1,299 votes)
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To Pimp A Butterfly comments

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From tmbarnes8 4 days ago
Ok, I'm a prog guy, and I've listened to this album three times, hoping for this to open my eyes to hip hop. Unfortunately I can't say it has, perhaps because every now and then I zone out and stop focusing on the lyrics, which is obviously wrong. I don't know the album too well so far but here are some of my thoughts at the moment (as a hip hop noob):

-The opening track demonstrates the sound of the album well and is in general a good track. Some cool keyboards and beats and flows. The rapping/singing sounds not bad to me.
-King Kunta seems somewhat overrated to me? It was one of my least favourite songs. A little repetitive and not a particularly amazing chorus. Maybe I wasn't listening to the words?
-These Walls was pretty good. The soul-like vocals sound very contemporary and cool, and I kinda get what he's saying too which is rare lol.
-Alright is one of the catchiest songs and I can actually say I enjoyed it.
-At this stage I'm not gonna pretend I know what Kendrick is talking about in most of the songs, it's a lot to take in. This'll come later hopefully.
-The 'booboo' stuff in For Sale? kinda put me off that track, just the way he says it is odd.
-The spoken word bits at the end of most of the songs are quite clever, I've not heard that before. I kinda find myself looking forward to them after the energy and madness of each song fades out, as if he's sobering up and is re-evaluating again. They also help keep the album moving, flowing well into the coming song.
-How Much A Dollar Cost is probably my favourite track right now, the slow, jazzy piano beat is absolutely mesmerising and the tension on the track feels like it's constantly building. The lyrics also seem much easier to follow, and work great in the song. I don't really know why he's talking about a homeless man being actual Jesus, but it's interesting definitely.
-The album doesn't feel like the first half is better than the second half or anything like that which is good. Pretty consistent.
-Black the Berry feels like a very aggressive song, maybe too much. I feel kinda threatening listening to it, but hey, these are real issues that matter so I can understand the need for a track like this. Personally I'm not really a fan of this song though, I prefer the spaced out songs.
-I'm so glad the song I came in just before the end, it gives the album some much-needed upbeat vibes.
-Mortal Man's actual song part is great, the 'when shit hits the fan, is you still a fan?' bit is intriguing especially when set around that disorientating beat and synth work. Good stuff.
-The transition into the interview part is pretty smooth and I didn't even realise it was a full-blown discussion until at least a minute in, but didn't mind cos it was so engaging. Also didn't realise this was a fabricated interview with 2Pac, which is a really impressive thing to pull off.
-The album ends satisfyingly with the butterfly metaphor explained. I can't tell if this album is just being all pretentious and getting acclaim for it, but at the moment I'm really not thinking this is the case anymore.

On the whole this is of course a concept and lyric-heavy album to digest, which is what I'm so far missing mainly through my own fault of impatience or lack of concentration at some points. Or maybe as a young white man from England I'll just never be able to relate most of what's discussed here, all I can do is empathise.
Instrumentally this seems solid - very modern, fresh and well produced without being pompous or overblown. Again these are all my thoughts upon initial listens, but I can see myself unravelling this album more in the near future. No rating yet.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (1 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
I would give this album more than 100 if I could. Its more than phenomenal from a musical perspective, its society-changing. Kendrick’s social commentary coupled with all the risks he takes on his magnus opus go over with flying colors, and this is one of few albums that have changed my life at my young age.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From Diomed 02/03/2018 22:49
Kendrick Lamar is a once in a generation type talent. It is on full display on this amazing album. A masterpiece.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +3 votes (3 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From sidneyfranklyn 02/02/2018 22:40
"You ain't no king!"

For a moment this affront is left hanging in the air as if begging for a response, before the oozing base and panting drum beat of King Kunta cuts through the silence, bringing to life a track that simultaneously references the mutilation of Kunta Kinte in Alex Haley's novel Roots, the use of yams as a symbol of African heritage and authenticity in Ralph Ellison's Invisibel Man and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart whilst undercutting Kendrick's rap industry rivals and securing his credentials as the "greatest rapper in the world", a title which 66 minutes into the runtime he feels he has earned the right to be called.

And by this point in the record it's difficult to disagree; Kendrick continues the unusual song structures that characterised Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City but turns his sights from the senselessness of self-destructive gang violence to the institutional racial oppression that's responsible for it, interweaving his politically conscious lyrics with samples that celebrate the diverse legacy of African American music. This is an album to challenge the misconceptions surrounding hip hop's potential as an art form; this is an album to challenge the reluctance of elitist white journalism to consider hip hop as a part of the top tier musical canon. If what they say is true and rock n' roll is dead let's hope for more albums like this one.

Most of this is copied from the description of the album in my overall chart, do check it out if you have the time!!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +3 votes (3 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From elhenzo 01/12/2018 04:31
That was like paradise. If Kendrick can continue his classic streak, he will be remembered as one of the greatest of all time, and it seems he already is.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From AvalancheGrips 12/08/2017 02:22
Definitely the best work by the best rapper of this generation. Beautiful production, great lyrics, and great features.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +6 votes (6 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From Mark6313 12/07/2017 18:20
I dismissed this album on first listen. I was one of the people who said that it was boring and not as good as GKMC because it lacked replay value. I was so wrong.

The album follows a young man who sees the problems going on with industry, for the black community, and especially within himself. He goes on a journey from u to i and decided he will pimp himself to be a guiding light for the future of black men. The record is as inspiring as it is sonically advanced.

Kendrick created the most emotionally and socially compelling concept album of the past decade and in rap history. I thought Illmatic would forever be the best rap album but this takes the cake.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +7 votes (7 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From JulianR 12/07/2017 02:21
A very interesting album. The first half seems average, and the second is pretty good. I sense that it is also an album that will take many listens to get used to. Everything he says is a metaphor, or at least seems like it. While I don't find it quite as engaging as GKMC, its still a very interesting and boundary pushing album. Much more nuanced than Damn for sure. And I love all the jazzy backgrounds and beats he has going on here. I hope he returns to something closer to this and GKMC in his later releases, and doesnt follow the trend Damn seems to be on
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -1 votes (2 helpful | 3 unhelpful)
From AReasonableMan 11/26/2017 22:41
Mark my words. This album will be top 25 on this website by the end of this decade. In an era where people declare that music has creatively and lyrically peaked, this album blows everyone's mind with every track. In my book, this is the best hip-hip album of all time.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +9 votes (9 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From romanmonts 11/22/2017 18:59
Fav tracks: These walls, The blacker the berry, U
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -1 votes (1 helpful | 2 unhelpful)

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