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“To Pimp a Butterfly”

Label: Interscope Records

Genre: Hip-hop

Rapper Kendrick Lamar went three years without releasing an album, taking his time to craft an impressive sophomore effort in “To Pimp a Butterfly.’’

Lamar, a recent two-time Grammy winner, continues to show his worth as one of music’s best on the compelling and thought-provoking “To Pimp a Butterfly,’’ a title that is a play on Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.’’ And much like Lee’s novel, Lamar’s album is loaded with metaphors, focusing on how innocent minds can be influenced by money, fame and worldly matters.

Each of the album’s 16 tracks flows from one to another in a masterful way with elements of jazz, funk and hip-hop. It’s a compelling piece of work that features production by Pharrell Williams, rapper Terrace Martin, Boi-1da and Rahki.

Lamar’s socially conscious messages are once again easy to digest, especially on “Institutionalized’’ featuring Bilal, Anna Wise and Snoop Dogg. Lamar is strong on the Pharrell Williams-produced “Alright’’ and “How Much a Dollar Cost,’’ where he raps about the struggle of his fame with the assistance of James Fauntleroy and Ronald Isley. AP
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