Two years ago Kendrick Lamar released “To Pimp a Butterfly”, his third studio album. It’s my favorite rap album of all-time and possibly the most important rap album in the 2000s. It was a jazz and funk infused 16 track masterpiece revolving around the African-American struggle in America. It went on to be certified platinum and won “Best Rap Album” at the Grammys, and its songs “Alright” and “These Walls” both went on to win Grammys as well (to be honest he should have won outright “Album of the Year” above Taylor Swift).
Once on a drive up to Chicago when I was alone I listened to the entire album all the way through. At the end of a few of his songs Kendrick would say a poem piece-by-piece, more and more each song until he unleashed the whole thing on the last song “Mortal Man”. It then turns out he was saying the poem to Tupac the whole time! They then have a conversation about life, society, and being black in America! It’s an absurd, amazing, and well-thought out twist combining old recorded words of Tupac and new words of Kendrick’s, especially because Kendrick is very inspired by Tupac and he’s essentially the “continuation” of Tupac.
If you click on the link above it’ll take you right to the part where Kendrick’s full poem starts and it’s followed by their conversation. Enjoy.
And if you haven’t already listened to the album, you should.