Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar
Photo Credit: Ural Garrett for Okayplayer

Kendrick Lamar Shares How He Avoided the Sophomore Jinx With 'To Pimp a Butterfly'

On To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar said: "Some people love it to death, some people hate it."

Kendrick Lamar unveils his thoughts on the pressures many rappers experience after their debut album is a hit and they move on to release their sophomore project. His meteoric rise following Good Kid M.A.A.D City’s release was explored a bit in a newly surfaced interview for i-D featuring Baby Keem

In the feature, Kendrick says: "I remember the sophomore jinx of Good Kid M.A.A.D City; it was for that year and for that time. I was in a different space in my life. I already knew off the top I can’t make Good Kid M.A.A.D City Part Two." He added that it would’ve been corny for him to make two albums that sonically sound the same. "That takes the feeling away from the first. I need that muhfucka to live in its own world. Then boom, To Pimp a Butterfly. Some people love it to death, some people hate it," he added.

Keem then asked if To Pimp A Butterfly was about Kendrick surprising himself with each new release. His response, “That was it. To Pimp a Butterfly did that for me. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to sound, built with jazz and blues and hip-hop.”

Later in the conversation, Kendrick jokingly acknowledged that Keem had stolen one of his favorite beats by DJ Kahi. The beat was used for Keem’s upcoming project. Lamar brings this up to compliment the rising rapper for his ear and unique sound. “The fact that you grabbed that beat, and did something that I wouldn’t ever have done on it, you made it a better song than what I would have done. And that’s why I was like okay, this nigga hard.”

The feature offers a glimpse into Lamar and Keem’s relationship. It also makes it clear the latter has been creating music since he was 13. 

To read the entire interview, head here.