Many Kendrick Lamar fans consider 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City the Compton emcee’s magnum opus. 2017’s Damn made history by winning the Pulitzer Prize. However, Lamar’s 2015 album, To Pimp a Butterfly, is likely his most ambitious project to date.
New York Times contributor Alex Pappademas delves into the impact of To Pimp a Butterfly for the new Spotify podcast series The Big Hit Show. Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground media company produced the special presentation.
For The Big Hit Show, Alex Pappademas spoke to Kendrick Lamar, his manager Dave Free, Top Dawg Entertainment President Terrence “Punch” Henderson Jr., music producer Sounwave, Hip Hop artist Rapsody, Funk legend George Clinton, and more.
The Big Hit Show Says Hello To The West Coast Wordsmith
The premiere episode of The Big Hit Show audio documentary is titled “Hello Kendrick.” For the first installment, Pappademas explores the rise of the emcee also known as K. Dot from an independent artist to arguably the greatest rapper alive.
The Big Hit Show‘s entire season covers the creation of To Pimp a Butterfly. It also details how Kendrick Lamar channeled the pressures of being famous and the pain of his generation into a career-defining masterpiece.
“When I revisit that record, it’s like 60% of sounds, vocals, words, tones, and lyrics that I don’t even know, when, where, or how they came. That’s how deep we were in it,” Kendrick Lamar tells Alex Pappademas about the making of his third studio LP. “It was a spiritual moment, a whole journey, seriously. But that’s the beauty of it.”
K. Dot’s TPAB Became An Undeniable Commercial & Critical Success
To Pimp a Butterfly debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 with 324,000 first-week copies sold. The album remained atop the chart for two weeks. The Recording Industry Association of America certified TPAB as Platinum. The tracks “I,” “King Kunta,” and “Alright” also earned Platinum plaques.
In addition, “Alright” became the unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement. That Pharrell Williams and Sounwave-produced single won Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
Kendrick Lamar won multiple Grammy Awards for To Pimp a Butterfly including Best Rap Album. “These Walls” featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, and Thundercat also took home the trophy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Lamar has won 13 Grammys during his career.