Just How Black Is Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’?

03.24.15 3 years ago 103 Comments
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We are only here to talk about Blackness. This is what they call “a safe space.”

Kendrick Lamar lavished in his Blackness on To Pimp A Butterfly and infused every single song with that idea, narrative through lines be damned.

His Blackness here is distinct. On a scale of Don Lemon to Coming to America, this album is Harriet Tubman levels of Black. On the Jackson family scale of Blackness, this album is a solid Joe Jackson. No less. This album gets followed in stores and stopped by police while driving.

Being Black is like having special membership to an elite club everyone wants to be a part of, but no one would pay to join. Black culture is worldwide and primetime. Being black feels like shared experiences. It’s going to another country full of people who catch the same rhythm contagion, and smiling at each other ever so warmly when that beat drops. It’s those charcoal sponge tufts of hair on the barbershop floor. Blackness is something.

Not just lives, Blackness itself matters. It has cultural landmarks, exclusively Black things where you had to be there or you’re just forever late. It’s the reason Twitter is anything still, or why Instagram is laugh-out-loud funny. It has thickness and difficulty, but giggles the loudest, last, and best. Blackness is guilty of shit, too. It can be flashy or proud or — gasp — inconvenient.

Kendrick’s Blackness held us. He rocked with us and reminded everyone living the daily grind that the party don’t stop.

Here are the Blackest references on To Pimp A Butterfly.

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