Does Lack of ‘Enjoyment’ Make or Break ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’?: A Response to Justin Charity’s Complex Article

Photo Credit: Jason Speakman

Photo Credit: Jason Speakman

My big bro, Majesty, here at Street Knowledge Media asked my thoughts on Justin Charity’s Complex article “Why Did Everyone Claim to Enjoy Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly'” yesterday. This was my response via text message, with a few changes that I made later upon further reflection:

“Exactly. I don’t understand why people can’t just let music be music. What is Charity’s criteria for ‘enjoyable?’ If he agrees that it was an important album, why critique it by how ‘enjoyable’ it is, months later? What may make it enjoyable to many people could be the fact that it is Black-centered, incorporated elements of jazz and funk, and had substance. I think this article was published strictly to generate traffic to the blog through controversy. The bubble gum bullshit is never critiqued in this manner, only the positive music.

“I respect honest, constructive criticism, but there seems to be no point at all to this article. Charity seems to be simultaneously praising and downplaying the impact and message of an album put out by arguably one of the top 3 hottest artists in hip-hop today at the expense of some extremely subjective opinion of how ‘enjoyable’ it was. How often do we even get albums like TPAB anymore, in terms of sound and content? By a top-tier rapper, no less. To spotlight that diminishes its value because it is by no means a bad record or one that doesn’t deserve the praise it has received, or one that is not still thoroughly enjoyed by many across the world. Charity acts like 90+% of hip-hop songs, albums and mixtapes that come out every year are not appealing to the listeners’ ‘enjoyment,’ yet this particular album somehow requires a more microscopic examination in that area? Ok, I’m done.”

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