To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) by Kendrick Lamar is a diverse look into the growing star of the storytelling rapper. Starting off with Wesley’s Theory, the funk seeps through the speakers. With George Clinton’s writing help and vocal spot, along with Thundercat’s wah wah bass, the song is the most underrated on the album. King Kunta brings another funky bass beat to the table, but this is more of a hip hop song. Kendrick’s flow shines through, while his lyrics are reminiscent of a young Tupac. Institutionalized reminds of Parliament/ Funkadelic for its humorous, funk infused satire. These Walls is a futuristic funk/alternative r&b song that is benefitted by the vocals of Bilal and Anna Wise, as they were on the previous song with Snoop Dogg. u is jazz punk styled hip hop, highlighting Kendrick at his peak. The sax is at the forefront of the song, which caught David Bowie’s attention for inspiration on his final album, Blackstar. Alright is the biggest hit on the album, needing no introduction. For Sale? is one of two interludes on record, along with the weaker For Free?, which seems like an unnecessary way to segue between songs. Momma is another alternative r&b number, while Hood Politics interchanges between a soul jazz sample and a horrorcore beat that Kendrick raps over. How Much A Dollar Cost includes the contribution of Ronald Isley, whose group, the Isley Brothers, are sampled on i. Complexion (A Zulu Love) sounds like an early 2000s Jurassic 5 song, which is a good thing, while The Blacker the Berry is another heavy hitter thanks, in large part, to the production of Dr. Dre. You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said) and Mortal Man, with a prophetic 7 minute spoken word ending, sandwich i, another hit, at the end of one of the best albums of the 21st century so far.
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