March 24, 2015
The political theory of Kendrick Lamar
Last Monday, Kendrick Lamar’s eagerly anticipated new album “To Pimp a Butterfly” dropped a week ahead of schedule. Rapturous reviews quickly followed, declaring it an instant classic. Spin gave it a 10/10 rating, proclaiming it the great American hip-hop album. The Verge declares it “perfect” and Rolling Stone calls it a “masterpiece.” With its politically charged lyrics and jazzy, funky beats, it calls to mind the great albums of an earlier era of politically committed and musically diverse hip-hop. Tupac Shakur is the guiding spirit of the album, released 20 years almost to the day after Tupac’s “Me Against the World,” and which ends with a reconstructed conversation with Tupac that could have come off as a gimmick but most emphatically does not. I haven’t listened to anything else all week.