Is Kendrick Lamar's Latest Album a 'Black Album?' Terrace Martin Weighs In

Is Kendrick Lamar's Latest Album a 'Black Album?' Terrace Martin Weighs In

He also compares the LP to Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late.

Published November 18, 2015

Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album, To Pimp A Butterfly, received a lot of praise from critics but also provoked wide-ranging discussion about social issues in hip hop and Black culture.  

CLICK FOR THE RUNDOWN: TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY

Terrace Martin, one of the album’s producers, recently spoke with Complex about the landmark LP and its tales of Black struggle, acceptance and lasting message. “Kendrick’s album is definitely from the heart, mind, and soul of a young Black male speaking to his people. But also, more than pro-Black, I believe this album has become pro-human being, pro-everybody," Martin said noting Lamar's diverse fan base. "Playing this music for a mixed crowd is simple because we don’t look at it as a mixed crowd. We look at it as our relatives within the art community, where we don’t experience Black and white or none of that bulls**t that the police and the government got us going through as Black people. Within the art is a place of safety. A place of love.”                       

The L.A. native went on to say that TPAB is a “Black album” with intentions of stirring the discussion of being African-American in America. “That album is supposed to stir up how people feel. Ain’t nothing wrong with that,” he explained. ”To Pimp a Butterfly is beauty within the problems of our culture and our people. It’s a wakeup call. It’s an audio book to help get the message out to others, including some allies that can help us. We have allies that understand struggle, but sometimes they don’t know we going through this s**t.”

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Martin also compared TPAB to Drake’s latest solo LP, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, and says that while they both exude a Black message, Drake’s is a little short when it comes to expanding on a story through lyricism.

“With Drake, musically, it’s hard for me to believe what he says over that particular bed of music because his music doesn’t really breathe,” he described when asked to compare the albums. “It loops a lot. Which is beautiful, I love it, it’s perfectly fine. But musically, it doesn’t tell me a story that adds another level to the lyricism. I believe that everything as a whole needs to be great, not just the words. That doesn’t mean you have to play jazz or blues, or that you have to add a saxophone. It just means I want more dynamism, musically, because life is dynamic.”

Martin produced six of the album’s 16 tracks including co-production on “King Kunta” and “The Blacker the Berry.” Lamar released TPAB on March 15, it was certified gold just a month later and has sold more than 600,000 copies.

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Written by Paul Meara

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