Landscapes are measured to be scraped. So that the strength of the elephants and the hearts of lions are minimized to the eyes of a butterflies. Eyes of listeners that once saw all the works beyond the twerks and pseudo-rhyming flirts. Eyes made tiny by Interscopes beaming the next pop-crafted legends co-written by mass media to bedazzle. But a butterfly will be ironed in style in the lowering lights of this next sunset. Its depth of sight will see songs on the event horizon and the beauty of the Boom Bap that once would not ever reach others. And yet they work to pimp the iron butterfly. Fluttering through frivolosity flaunted, the listening minds of an old and aging counterculture being subbed into bags of white chocolate candies, menages of diluted sounds and semi-conscious drivel.
Now then, the major labels as Interscope, rewrite the immediate history being made work by work right now, capitalizing on the small field of pseudo-artists that drake the noisescape. The major label once had rebels and revolutionaries that even threatened their own job safety from Q-Tip noting Industry Rule No. 4080 to the activist work and militant lyrics of Rage Against the Machine. However, today, the labels know the slang of nigga. They have learned the dialect of a nigga thinking he ain’t a nigga. They also detect the language of the nigga becoming the God. And when they sell something to us, our suspension of belief in the work must be at an alarmed state beyond what it ever was.
And the listeners forgot 11 years ago Jay-Z was supposed to be the spook who sat by the door because he did a song with dead prez. They forgot they wrote eminem, who turned a hillbilly awkward auctioner-paced cartooned angst ridden persona into the icon, a rapping presely. They forgot—no, they never knew that the last 15 years from 1999 to 2015, the entire elevation and/or consistent counterculturing the next generation really brought has only become a footnote for the occasional gentrifying enthusiast that will pull out their own desirables, whether truly legendary (i.e. MF DOOM) or just a piece of palatable shit (i.e. Kanye West).Enter the play King, Kendrick Lamar. An MC that constantly has shown respectable skill whilst the media chronicles every layup as a windmill dunk and every 8 foot set shot as a buzzer beating three pointer. An NBA player perfectly mimics the skill and drive of the legend Michael Jordan you have a hall of famer Kobe Bryant. An MC uses the answers of an icon and poet 2Pac to relay an understanding and integrity of character then he is being lazy and constructing character without really conveying them with his own insight. The mass media is essentially the gifted pack of groupies that have no stage presence yet know well how to write of one, write it up, write it off, write it for, right the wrongs with written rights to the right corps for our lazy corpses to wrongly read. Now you can read how the music is co-opted. See a gentrifying writer, those rap critics that are new to the culture but true to the vulture, don’t get paid if they make gambles of critique. Say, the realness infects a big mag writer and he says this damned Minaj is whoredom or Drake is rhymeless man whoredom. The proofs of quality at those punk palaces are the sales of said quasi-artists. You criticize Big Sean and yell out, “Where’s the Bronzeman?!!” then Big Sean’s high sales mean you have to regroup and write about some trash rapper again who keeps winning. Big Sean sells and still demanding your coverage so he therefore is a good rapper. And now you know why it’s exciting that an above average MC as Lamar vindicates viraled pens with vittles of Viagra. And between the sheets they cover a new GOAT erected. Pause.
This decade has a youthful strain of illness that puts Lamar deep in the lower middle of the pack from Napoleon Da Legend, Spit Gemz, HexOne, Freddie Gibbs, Bronze Nazareth, Kevlaar 7 (Remembered IN Perfection), Phillie, Joey Badass, Hasan Salaam, Timeless Truth, Sleep Sinatra, Starvin B, Skyzoo, Cyrus Malachi, Melanin 9 and countless others. Young with supreme works that outmatch Lamar and any label rapper. This beginning list changes the context of Lamar and his impact. Lamar is not a return of GOAT level MCs; rather, a decent rapper in the mainstream, and with such a despicable place for MCing it has become, he is an anomaly of unmagnificent proportions.
So all colors are beautiful. Use every color and you have a mess the eyes can only see by doctored description. Use every sound on a song and you have noise that can only be described dope by the seller and its affiliates. On a rap album like To Pimp A Butterfly, your ears listen with placed promotions while the MCing becomes its own over-hyped talk.
Now then, we call that good music that ol time stuff and our right music they call the worn and done Boom Bap. Hip Hop music, when turned into the presentations of an MC in a Long Player format, is breakbeat forum for the skill sets, natural vocal talents and creative ideas and insights of that master of ceremony. It becomes a scripted dismissal of a culture’s peak music making ethos to dismiss this way. And then name the diluted new way to be the progressive. It is the Iron Butterfly’s understanding that the music’s greatness is in its ability to draw out the best of the MC tools. On Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, the flaw of the Soulquarians and post-Aquemini afflictions attack. The peak of Hip Hop music is a repetitive palette for MCing. When the music is over-produced, you lose the MCing. When the music is horrible you shrill the ears as Kanye West’s Yeezus and when it is lost in its own wonder you have Common’s Electric Circus. Among producers, JDilla is rightfully lauded as a master of the boards and extracted sample. Able to make a sound brilliant and profound with every nuance of the drum explored and have all its hugging partners of horn, piano, vocals and all providing the funkiest warmth. However, when we search for classic albums, the producer’s names must change and RZA, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, DJ Muggs, Large Professor among others must emerge. They focus on a duality that seeks to express themselves as a secondary reality to exemplifying the MC’s forum. And so the bread may be multi-grained and filled with the most exotic of spices but we are there to judge the taste of the sandwich’s merits by the lyricism between. Great musicians in Hip Hop as OutKast with Dungeon Family reached perfect balance with Atliens and Aquemini where MCing was propelled to then hit us with Stankonia, records many appreciated but are a beginning in the hampering of the forum for MCing. Then we get a brother singing with a dress on. Cee-lo! Headcrack! Headcrack!
Art projects can’t be used as reasons for Boom Bap dismissal or the denial that Hip Hop music has a certain nature of protocol encoded in it. The legend and great veterans have released art projects that still keep to the ethos and produce greatness as Pharoahe Monch’s PTSD to KA’s last three works. The missteps on the way as RZA’s A Better Tomorrow are examples of a work being marred because that ethos of MC forum challenged in any way can stop the MC’s propelling. We still got MCing there, like or dislike, that we have not ever heard from certain Wu MCs (i.e. Raekwon on the title track) but we missed their greatest potential of performances. So To Pimp A Butterfly plays like late OutKast, rappers covering their favorite Funkadelic/Parliament records, replacing bars with insights with catchy phrases, gimmicky choruses and stale tupac aggressions. Nigga not rapping. Boo Boo! Nigga says he’s a nigga so that’s a new build?!
But Interscope gon make sure a nigga gon be alright! Lamar’s work here of the toughest intensity and extended metaphor can only be delivered via spoken word. Innovation is incorrectly lavished upon the rapper when character imagery is over mic techniques, the relaying of solution-less unfocused dread over targeted wrath, the honesty of hypocrisy versus the actions necessary amidst contradiction, condescending clever posturing over astute boasts is the new way.
There is a small difference of ounced rhyme that fills the weight of supremacy. They are bigger than just noting the metaphor of self-hatred and entrapment the cocooned caterpillar go through. Conscious of a demeaned situation in artsy metaphor doesn’t have the drive Gibbs goes in with to show you the hate of the caterpillar. It doesn’t really have the lush wordplay that Skyzoo paints the hustle done in the cocoon. It doesn’t have the unified complexities of Spit Gemz throwing insight rocks at the cocoon. It doesn’t have the beauty of blues and passioned soul the Wisemen poeticize the iron butterfly gym the caterpillars train in. The lenses of the butterfly are the jewel in the listener, who loves Hip Hop music enough, to know they missed a whole decade then and now, not waiting for the label’s to flutter in any select one from their own museums. There is no one savior in our counterculture of Hip Hop music. That only makes a religion out of a culture that ought to have men and women overcoming oppression becoming the greatest of artists presenting visions that are counter to society and mandatory to our betterment. Those saviors never stopped resurrecting since the death of PUN. Do the knowledge cause you won’t pimp this iron butterfly…I see Hip Hop music styled supreme in the most grim of sunsets.