It is quite a year for rap music. The NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton is in theaters, and four of the biggest names in rap have albums either out or due out soon. And they’re all ‘co-incidentally’ all over the news: Meek Mill and Drake are parading celebrity girlfriends and publicly tussling about integrity, Kanye has announced he will be running for President of the United States, and Eminem is linking arms with Louis Farrakhan’s October 10 civil rights march on Washington.
And yet most critics’ choice for album of the year, rap or otherwise, is likely going to be Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp A Butterfly. Why? Because it soars way, way, way past what the bling-laden, posturing louts have defined as rap for us.
The video above is Kendrick testing one of his pieces in a live performance on The Colbert Report last winter. There’s info in the comments about what he’s trying to say and do. No grunts. No shout outs. No bitches this and niggers that. An artist creating music that’s probably not even rap anymore, despite some rapping.