The Afro-Anarchist’s Guide to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’
You’ve recently resigned yourself to the fact that at a certain point in a rapper’s career, usually when he/she is already steering the yacht of mainstream success after having surmounted the crab-infested grime of the underground, they must decide whether or not to submit to the allure of pop-cultural relevance, or stick to their creative instincts, and create on their own terms. So, you start asking yourself if Kendrick is being ironic when he wonders ‘How Much a Dollar Cost?’
If you are a Compton native with Dr. Dre’s blessings like Kendrick, wouldn’t you want to decipher Wesley’s Theory with one to whom West Coast Hip-Hop owes much of its earlier sound? Wouldn’t you want George Clinton, the funk master himself right there as you channel James Brown? Wouldn’t you ride alongside Snoop in a ’64 drop top, and laugh at how ‘every nigga is a star’ on the nightly news?