The High Art of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly

Every hood personified in music, lyric and soul

I saw Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly as art. Like actual hang it up, frame it, let's hold it in a gallery for listening and viewing pleasure art. The title alone was a validation of my experience being bought and sold here in America. Lalah Hathaway was a witness, George Clinton was the Rev, Robert Glasper orchestrated my heartstrings, Thundercat added flair that only he could, and Kendrick Lamar—well, he's Kendrick Lamar. The prince and voice of ghetto tales and woes. This weave of poetry, musicianship and a plain ole feeling was the piece of art that I was looking for in my house. To Pimp a Butterfly is every hood personified in music, lyric and soul. It's just that good. Kendrick Lamar is one of my favorite storytellers; it's one of my dreams to sit and speak with him with no recording but the one in my head because my album Green Balloon was inspired by his approach to making an album a piece of art.

It's hard to tell what my favorite track is because I listen to it as a whole and never in pieces because that's the way I see it. Standouts to me have to be the poetry in "For Free?", the Lalah sample in "Momma," "I" and even to this day I say "When shit hit the fan is you still a fan?" Being an artist, you always want people to see that you're human and you're not going to be perfect. I make mistakes and I've been raised to believe things that are a part of me; if my ideals and opinions don't line up with yours, will you still be my fan? If the media attacks me, will you be there? Will you see my opinion of a thing, or will you see me as a person? That particular line always stuck out to me while being raised in "cancel culture." I want to always be honest in my art, tell my story, and share the experiences I've had as a Black, short, chubby, dark-skinned, insecure, confident woman. To Pimp a Butterfly always reminds me that there is beauty and interest in all perspectives, especially if the right person tells it.

Profile picture for user Tarriona 'Tank' Ball
Tarriona 'Tank' Ball
Tarriona "Tank" Ball is lead singer of Tank and the Bangas.

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