why kendrick lamar's latest drop already matters

First impressions of 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' the Compton native's surprise masterpiece.

by Hattie Collins
16 March 2015, 2:45pm

1. The album features Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Bilal, Anna Wise (who featured on Good Kid M.A.A.D City), Thundercat, James Fauntleroy, Ronald Isley and Rapsody.

2. The record artwork - featuring a group of Comptonites in front of the White House crushing a judge underfoot - is by acclaimed French photographer Denis Rouvre.

3. Of the album's title, Kendrick has been slightly cryptic. "This will be taught in colleges on day," he told Rolling Stone, before adding that it was inspired by Miles Davis and Parliament.

4. Kendrick's second release on Interscope/Aftermath is 16 songs deep and ends with the 12 minute opus, Mortal Man. Halfway through, the music cuts to reveal Kendrick 'interviewing' Tupac. A concept we think is pretty genius.

5. One of the tracks from the album, The Blacker The Berry, was annotated for Genius by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Michael Chabon (who also wrote with Mark Ronson on his recent album, Uptown Special).

6. It's only a first play and needs time to grow, but Kendrick has once more turned his guts inside out as a lyricist and a performer. This is an album that will need multiple plays to fully appreciate, with its triple-entendres, complex wordplay and incisive political narrative, it already feels like one of the most important releases of 2015.


Text Hattie Collins 
Photography Stephanie Sian Smith 

Kendrick Lamar
Rap Genius
George Clinton
Michael Chabon
To Pimp a Butterfly
Anna Wise