Why ‘To Pimp A Butter Fly’ is the MOST important album in the history of Black music - Guest Post by Nunneh Nimley
This journey began before Clive Campbell first arrived in New York city in the late 60s, and within 5 years was planting the seeds for the art form we know today as hip hop. All they wanted was a lil more time to dance away the pains of poverty and hopelessness that gripped the South Bronx, and ghettos throughout the country. Malcolm & Martin are dead and gone, COINTELPRO is in its final stages of creating animosity amongst the ranks of the most successful Black Organizations of the time. Heroin is EVERYwhere, from the concrete jungle of Harlem to the veins of black soldiers in the jungles of Vietnam
Larry Hoover, Tookie Williams, and Afrika Bambaataa are ALL leaders of gangs in the streets of their respective cities.
But it doesn’t start there. Is it the charred remains of the Greenwood Section of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the aftermath of the race riots of 1921? A place where not even a generation removed from Slavery and Sharecropping OUR people were able to build the wealthiest Black community in the country. But it doesn’t start there either.
Is it when the first shackled barefoot of an African reached the shores of what we know today as Virginia or South Carolina? The pregnant women being thrown overboard when complaining of labor pains? Nope! It doesn’t begin there either.
This story begins off the West Coast of Africa. In the lands we now know as Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Liberia etc. It begins with the ocean breeze, tropical weather, community, a village that would soon have its inhabitants uprooted and taken to a whole different land, where physical and mental freedom are prohibited.
#TPAB is the entire experience of the black diaspora. This is Marcus Garvey returning to Africa. This is Malcolm finishing his speech @ the Audubon Ballroom. This is Martin Luther King leaving Memphis TN on April 4th. This is Bunchie Carter walking off of UCLA’s campus, returning to South Central to share the knowledge his his brothas. This is Fred Hampton not being home on the morning of December 4th. This is Nat Turner with 300 soldiers behind him marching through the south. This is Jesus in the garden praying to GOD as he knows he’s about to meet his physical fate.
This is BIGGER than hip hop, as Kendrick previously explained on “Hiii Power”, ‘this is physical & mental. This is the Re-education of the Black mind after 400+ years of conditioning and malediction. This is Marvin Gaye when he was recording ‘What’s Goin On’, this is Bob Marley in Kingston recording ‘Natural Mystic’. We always fall in love with the GREATness of the past, but we rarely celebrate GREATness when we’re in the very presence of it. This prophecy. This is Kendrick Lamar doing the work of GOD.
This is war music. This is Moses with all of GODs children leading them to the Promised Land, except this time he gets to enjoy the final part of the journey. GOD has disguised herself as a 5’6 nigga from from Compton. But are we gonna realize it before its too late? We’ve sat around and prayed and hope for the NEXT black leader and how he would awaken the masses, well guess what, he’s here. This is it.
This is healing music. We’ve been convinced that we can ONLY be beautiful as long as we abandoned our physical and ancestral traits. This album is the celebration of EVERYthing black. This is the African drum in its purest form.
This is how we as Africans communicate. Even if there is a language barrier the sound of the drum speaks. The pace of the sound influences emotion. It was the drum that prepared warriors for battle., It was that sound aligning with the heart to create a Fearless warrior. #TPAB is that drum. But will we embrace it? Will we recognize that we are in the presence of an AMAZING human being? Are we READY to recreate the greatness of our fore fathers? Are we ready to tap into the genius and level of consciousness it took to build the pyramids?
Illmatic is the pinnacle of hip hop from its inception up until 94, it sets EVERYthing in stone. #TPAB is a 400+ year journey set in stone. This is the manual for black survival in the Western Hemisphere and beyond. Where Good Kid Maad City was a short film, #TPAB is The BOOK of Life for ANY African or person of African descent that has ever breather a breath outside of the Motherland.
So are we gonna spend another generation of infighting, obsessing with money and physical “happiness”? Or are we ready to place the soul before flesh and change the world? This is the soundtrack to THAT. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as one of my home girls said, if #TPAB came out in 2012 people wouldn’t have a clue how to receive it. There has NEVER been a more important time than today, and Kendrick Lamar has captured the souls, spirit, and genius of all of our ancestors, be it drug dealers, users, killers, all the way to Warriors, scientists, Doctor, Kings & Queens. But are we gonna ride with him? Or are we gonna turn our back on him as we’ve ALWAYS done when a leader has appeared? That remains to be scene, but what we do know is Kendrick Lamar just dropped the most important piece of music in the history of Black music.
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