Kendrick Lamar Dishes on the Inspiration Behind ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’

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"[I wanted to] break down the idea of being pimped in the industry, in the community and out of all the knowledge that you thought you had known," he said.

Who does an artistic genius look to for inspiration?

If you’re Kendrick Lamar, it’s a combination of people, places and things.

The rapper recently opened up to Grammys.com and explained the origins of his 2015 album, To Pimp a Butterfly.

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“The title grasped the entire concept of the record,” he said. “[I wanted to] break down the idea of being pimped in the industry, in the community and out of all the knowledge that you thought you had known, then discovering new life and wanting to share it.”

Lamar said that his original inspiration stemmed from a trip to Africa. While there, he had a spiritual experience that left him wanting to bring the essence of the homeland back to his community.

“I saw all the things that weren’t taught,” he said. “Probably one of the hardest things to do is put [together] a concept on how beautiful a place can be and tell a person this while they’re still in the ghettos of Compton. I wanted to put that experience in the music.”

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And that he did. With some special help from funkadelic George Clinton, he put together the Grammy-nominated album.

“[George Clinton and I] got in the studio and just clicked,” he said. “Rocking with him took my craft to another level, and that pushed me to make more records like that for the album.”

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