Looks like the leak of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly didn’t harm album sales. The album was still tracking great and has resulted as Lamar’s first number one album in his short career.
The album was originally supposed to be released on March 27, but it was pushed a week earlier to March 16 when Kendrick’s label accidentally let the album leak to iTunes and Spotify.
According to Billboard, the album earned 324,000 album units for the first week out, which is highly impressive for an artist who is only on his second full-length album.
His first album, 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, which earned him Grammy nominations as well as the most talked about snub of the ceremony, went on to sell 241,000 copies, and was only behind Taylor Swift’s Red, which sold 1.21 million copies.
The reception of To Pimp a Butterfly has been overwhelmingly positive, with some praising Lamar as the best in the rap game. Influenced by jazz and funk, Kendrick stays open and sometimes too raw on tracks like “u” and “You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said).”
Another highlight is “i” where Lamar questions, “How many n—-s we done lost, bro? It shouldn’t be shit for us to come out here and appreciate the little bit of life we got left.”
Entertainment Weekly said the album “doubles down on density” as opposed to the chill West Coast style of the 2012 album good kid, m.A.A.d city.
The critic continues, “With its heated social commentary and shape-shifting song structures, Butterfly has the freedom of a mixtape — samples range from Michael Jackson to cult folkie Sufjan Stevens — but the production values of an Oscar-worthy cinematic event.”
During an interview with Complex, Kendrick Lamar said he wanted to focus on the next sound while creating To Pimp a Butterfly.
“If I keep focusing on, ‘I need to make something better than good kid,’ it’s going to be just that. That’s not challenging yourself. I don’t want to become that person reflecting on what has been done. What I’m doing now is the question. I’m only as good as my last word, my last hook, my last bridge.”
Looks like he found how to push himself on every level, and the fans are certainly responding to it.
The more I listen to @kendricklamar new album, the more I love it!
— Nneka (@NV_Me_123) March 27, 2015
To pimp a butterfly @kendricklamar haven't fell in love wit a complete album in a long ass time.
— Lucyfer. (@_Lucyimhome) March 27, 2015
That new Kendrick Lamar album is dope.
— Cesar Rangel (@Cesar93R) March 27, 2015
[Image Mike Windle / Getty Images]