When I first heard Kendrick Lamar’s song “i” I knew his new album was going to be off the charts. I was so happy when he won a Grammy for “i” – that song is so empowering. Every time I hear it, I just want to dance. Even in the video I was surprised to see Kendrick dance as much as he did.
Another song that was released before the album was even talked about has no name – I’ll just call it, “Untitled”. Kendrick Lamar performed it on The Colbert Report in December. This song unfortunately isn’t on the album, but that doesn’t make the album anything less than great.
His album, “To Pimp a Butterfly”, was scheduled to release March 23rd but to our surprise it was released March 16th, a week before. This has been one of the most anticipated albums of 2015. From the lyrics to the beats, and from start to finish, every song’s message has you stopping and rewinding, saying “Did he just say that?”
The album has 15 tracks, 2 are interludes.
“For Free? – Interlude,” is a conversation between Kendrick and a woman. It’s very interesting because he plays on the line, “this dick ain’t free”. Women are always claiming that their vagina isn’t free, so hearing it from a man’s point of view is very interesting. The way Kendrick delivers it is as if he is doing a spoken word piece against a jazz beat.
“I’m a proud monkey.” A line from one of my favorite songs off the album, “The Blacker the Berry”. It’s perfect for what’s going on with the world today. We’re all upset about police killing innocent black people, but we don’t rally up as much when it’s black on black crime. “So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street/When gangbanging make kill a nigga blacker than me.” How can you listen to lyrics like that and not rethink your whole attitude.
He interviewed Tupac at the end of, “Mortal Man.” That was dope! I felt as if it was real. Tupac would have been rooting for Kendrick. “All good things come to those who stay true,” said Tupac. Both young men came from the west-coast, great lyricists and all about the people, both are staying and stayed true to who they truly are.
The cover was taken by the French photographer Denis Rouvre. It has shirtless black men of all ages, gripping 40-ounce bottles and stacks of cash, posing in front of a White House backdrop. He says the cover represents “taking the same things that people call bad and bringing them with me to the next level, whether it’s around the world, to the Grammys or the White House. You can’t change where I come from or who I care about.” You can’t change it, but we as a race can work together to make it better.
Overall I feel as if Kendrick Lamar’s album is about growing as a race and acknowledging what we need to do to change. We can’t be in denial but we can be encouraged to be better. In order for the next generation to be stronger, we have to step it up.