Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’: The Pride of Compton Avoids the Sophomore Slump

March 17, 2015 12:50 AM

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In hip-hop, the sophomore album is the album that validates an artist’s historical standing. So many legendary rap artists have had relatively short careers, so while longevity is celebrated, there is something to be said for establishing one’s legend fairly early. Are you a “hot” rapper or an era-defining rapper? Are you just one in the crowd or leading the charge? Some of hip-hop’s best sophomore albums were the result of brilliant artists refusing to let fans and critics pressure them into repeating themselves.

Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city was arguably the best-reviewed hip-hop album of the 2010s; an acclaimed major label debut that met and exceeded the lofty expectations the West Coast upstart had been building ever since his earliest mixtape appearances. The lynchpin of Top Dawg Entertainment ...

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