Lamar revolutionizes music
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By Peter Conway
Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album, To Pimp a Butterfly, was surprisingly released March 16, a week before its intended release on March 23. This revolutionary album has sound like I have never heard before. Every song seems to change flow to a drastic extent, and sometimes multiple times within the song.
To Pimp a Butterfly is Kendrick’s third highly acclaimed album, coming after Section 80 and Good Kid m.a.a.d. City. All of these albums have hints of genius in them, but nothing like his latest album. No hip-hop artist has ever attempted to create music that is, plainly, just so different. I feel it to be one of those albums that I could flip on any track and find floods of genius.
One track that represents a theme of the album is Institutionalized. This song has a brilliantly soothing chorus and extreme lyricism. It’s a song that focuses on the power of money nowadays. It paints Kendrick’s belief that money is seemingly advertised and people are addicted to the idea of getting rich.
Kendrick sees that people are in obsession with a life of luxury, but is openly concerned with the idea that people are not willing to do the work to follow a dream.
He raps, “Be all you can be, true, but the problem is/ Dream only a dream if work don’t follow it”
Another track I find myself extremely amused by is U. Kendrick spends four minutes and twenty eight seconds screaming out all of which he hates about himself. The chorus itself repeats yelling, “Loving you is complicated”; it truly is a hauntingly beautiful piece.
At about two minutes into the song it switches from his angry screams with a pepped up beat to a trippy beat as he cries out in a stressed out/frustrated voice.
Multiple times throughout the song I felt some of the same insecurities, which is why I find it so beautiful.
He says at one point, “I know your secrets/ Don’t let me tell them to the world about the sh*t you’re thinkin'”
On the total opposite side of his feelings of self doubt and shame, he writes the song i as reminder to love himself. This track is filled with an upbeat tempo and is a continuous spurt of positive vibes throughout.
It is easy to see in the lyrics that although he loves himself, he has an underlying evil that he must keep out of his head.
He sings in the opening verse of the song, “I done been through a whole lot/ Trial, tribulation, but I know God/ The devil wanna put me in a bow tie/ Pray the holy water don’t go dry”
On the track Momma, Kendrick ensues on a long list of the extent of his knowledge.
He says, “I know wisdom, I know religion, I know karma/ I know everything, I know history/ I know the universe works mentally”
But as Kendrick continues he pounces on his narcissism eventually admitting, “Until I realized I didn’t know sh*t/ The day came home”
I felt this song is relatable to everyone. Everyone goes through a period where they lose their head, and then something wakes them up, and reminds them they are only human.
My ultimate favorite song on this album is You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said), which is a song that jumps on people who do not act as their true selves. I find this track to have the coolest sound on the album, and I am in love with Kendrick’s flow on this one.
The chorus on the song says it all: people try to hard to impress.
He repeats, “You ain’t gotta lie to kick it/ You ain’t gotta try so hard”
The album To Pimp a Butterfly is an absolute listen no matter who you are, or where you are from. It is revolutionizing music. Not only for hip-hop, but I believe it will inspire musicians everywhere to expand art to a limitless end.