Kendrick Lamar is impervious to the sophomore slump. Barring some unforeseen circumstances, the 27-year-old hip-hop star will come close to selling 325,000 copies of To Pimp a Butterfly, his second major label release, which dropped this week. Spin reports that the Compton, California, native’s album will be No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. It is the first time in his career that he will have achieved the feat.
In the process of potentially having the top Billboard spot, Lamar broke his own streaming record with 9.8 total streams as of Tuesday, according to Entertainment Weekly.
To Pimp a Butterfly is worth the hype and then some. It is filled with a furor of lyrics and emotions. Lamar explained himself to Lizzy Goodman of the New York Times.
“As a kid, I used to stutter. I think that’s why I put my energy into making music. That’s how I get my thoughts out, instead of being crazy all the time.”
He has turned that energy into an incredible musical joyride.
— billboard (@billboard) March 20, 2015
Kendrick Lamar originally planned to release the follow up to Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City on March 24. The latest album came out on Sunday, March 15.
Backed with funk-themed production, Lamar picked up where he left off lyrically with a few wrinkles added for good measure.
George Clinton and Thundercat help get the ball rolling in the intro “Wesley’s Theory.” It is then that you are introduced to a gritty, yet polished Kendrick Lamar, who includes singing to his expanding repertoire. He holds his own with his funkadelic brethren.
Another added dimension is his poetry skills.
— The FADER (@thefader) March 20, 2015
Of course a hip-hop artist should be an excellent poet, but not every artist can create the theater of the mind in the way that Lamar can. He proves that he is above many of his ilk the way he carefully constructs his words and metaphors.
NPR Music compares To Pimp a Butterfly to the musical version of a “great American novel.”
Legendary hip-hop producer Pete Rock collaborated with Kendrick Lamar on “Complexion (A Zulu Love).” Pete had huge praise for the emcee in a recent MTVinterview.
“It’s like the best album out, so we’re listening to it and I’m loving the musicians that he picked to play on his album and the beats that he picked. I was pretty impressed with it. It just goes to show you how much an ear he has for his sound and what he’s trying to accomplish. The album sounds great.”
The album has several bright spots, allowing you to create full play-through ability. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the To Pimp a Butterfly is “Mortal Man”.
The final track features a question and answer session with the deceased hip-hop icon, Tupac Shakur. The beauty of the interview is that Kendrick Lamar conducts it seamlessly with his co-star despite the fact that his co-star has been dead for nearly 19 years.
To Pimp a Butterfly has the potential to go down as one of the most influential hip-hop albums in the last 25 years. Kendrick Lamar is proving that the second time (second major release) is a charm. One worthy of holding down the coveted Billboard’s number one spot.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]