Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)

I’ve never been one to gravitate towards rap music, but I decided to give this album a chance following Kendrick Lamar’s collaborations with both Sia and Beyonce, and found myself riveted from beginning to end. I’m not familiar with the conventions of the genre, but the music here feels somehow both mainstream and experimental: With ambient sounds that recall Erykah Badu’s “New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) set to beats that seem more appropriate for early-2000s Busta Rhymes, not to mention socially and racially charged interludes peppered throughout, this album is a quite an experience. I’d argue it’s too long (at just under eighty minutes), but that’s a minor gripe when so much of it works.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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