The rapper announced the album title on Instagram this week.
Kendrick Lamar finally unveils the title to his third studio album less than two weeks before release. 'To Pimp A Butterfly' is one of the most anticipated rap albums of the year and - having already heard two tracks from the release - it's easy to see why.
Kendrick Lamar unveils album title 'To Pimp A Butterfly'
A follow-up to his major label Platinum debut 'good kid, m.A.A.d city', which topped both the US R&B and Rap charts and came in at number two on the Billboard 200 in 2012, 'To Pimp A Butterfly' is Kendrick Lamar's new release via TopDawg Entertainment/ Aftermath/ Interscope Records. Six tracks have already been confirmed, as well as the release date which is remarkably soon given how much detail is still under wraps; March 23rd 2015. The mystery surrounding it is only increasing the hype, and Lamar already has some of hip hop's top guys desperate to work with him; Raekwon being the latest, according to an interview Noisey. So what DO we know about the album so far?
1. The title - Kendrick Lamar announced the title with an ominous post on Instagram alongside the album artwork. 'Don't all dogs go to heaven? Don't Gangsta's boogie? Do owl s**t stank? Lions, Tigers & Bears. But TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY. Its the American dream n***a....' he posted, signing off with 'lil Homie'. In contrast to a lot of his fellow rappers, it's an ambiguous title that merits contemplation. And that's certainly what it's getting.
3. The single - First official single 'The Blacker the Berry' was released in February and shares its name with Wallace Thurman's racially centred 1929 novel. That gives us some clues about the album then; that there will be some serious explorations of racism in American society. The track features Jamaican deejay Assassin, who previously appeared on Kanye West's acclaimed 'Yeezus' album.
4. The other tracks - 'i' was the first confirmed track on the album; a strangely upbeat number compared with the following single, that samples The Isley Brothers' 'That Lady' and subsequently won two Grammys. Kendrick Lamar performed the song on 'Saturday Night Live' in November 2014. Other confirmed tracks are 'u', 'Mortal Man', 'King Kunta' and 'The Revolution Is Live' ft. Pete Rock.
2. The producers - A team of top producers have collaborated on this project, led by triple Grammy winning Canadian Boi-1da who has previously worked with the likes of Eminem and Drake. He is joined by Lamar's manager Dave Free, and the other members of Digi+Phonics: Willie B, Sounwave and Tae Beast. Then there's composer/producer KOZ, who previously worked on Jennifer Hudson 'JHUD' album, Rahki who won a Grammy for 'I', and LA's Terrace Martin.
5. The artwork - If 'The Blacker the Berry' didn't inform you enough of the themes in the upcoming album, the album cover certainly will. It shows a group of topless black men outside the White House, brandishing wads of cash and bottles of alcohol as they pose alongside the apparent corpse of a white judge, still clutching his gavel. It's a strong, affecting image, and one that has seen a lot of thought and meaning; again, something that sets Kendrick Lamar apart from his contemporaries.