Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly' arrives a week early

.@kendricklamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly' dropped early -- listen now

Kendrick Lamar's new album "To Pimp a Butterfly," has arrived a week before its scheduled release date. Happy Monday, everyone.

Lamar himself seems fine with it -- or at least resigned to it. He tweeted Sunday night, "Keep calm. All is well." The boss at his label Top Dawg Entertainment, on the other hand, isn't so zen.

"I WOULD LIKE 2 PERSONALLY THANK @Interscope [Records] FOR [...]ING UP OUR RELEASE... SOMEBODY GOTS 2 PAY 4 THIS MISTAKE !!!! #TOP," tweeted Anthony Tiffith, Top Dawg's chief executive, about 20 minutes after the clean version went wide on iTunes. The Spotify and parental advisory iTunes versions arrived shortly thereafter.

Until its release, all songs on the album except its first three singles -- "i," "The Blacker the Berry," and Friday's "King Kunta" -- were unannounced.

Turns out, it features guest spots from the likes of Flying Lotus contemporary Thundercat, funk supreme George Clinton and Snoop Dogg, who will be the keynote speaker at the music portion of the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas later this week. Isley Brothers frontman Ronald Isley even makes an appearance toward the end, independent of a prominent "That Lady" sample on the single "i."

Given Lamar was tweeting cryptically a few minutes before the first links went live, and that all of the other outlets followed fairly quickly thereafter, it's possible Tiffith is dramatizing, and the drop wasn't a mistake at all. (Because who doesn't like a story like that? "Big album release fudged by absentminded label drone clicking the wrong button!") It's also possible that something (and not someone, as in a leak at the label) went wrong on the back end, forcing everyone to release it ahead of schedule. Whatever the case, the record is here, officially. Thematically, it is as vibrant, energetic, and kaleidoscopic as its first singles foreshadowed it might be. Let the snap-judgment reviews commence.

"Butterfly" is Lamar's third full-length LP and comes in the wake of his five-time Grammy-nominated sophomore album "good kid, m.a.a.d. city." Listen to the record via Spotify -- and as always, remember its lyrics are explicit pretty much from its opening lines.



March 17, 4 p.m.: An earlier version of this article referred to "good kid, m.a.a.d. city" as a four-time Grammy winning album. It was nominated for five Grammys, but did not win. 


While those who preordered the album or stayed up late enough to see it drop were able to download the explicit version on iTunes, it appears the retailer has removed it, leaving just the clean version available for purchase.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times


9:02 a.m.: This post has been updated with iTunes apparently pulling the explicit version of "To Pimp a Butterfly." 

The original version of this post was published at 7:20 a.m.

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