April 1, 2015


Kendrick Lamar Nearly Made His Album Title an Acronym for 'Tupac'

Getty Images
Getty Images

Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly is as singular a name as it is an album. The meaning is painted across the course of the record's narrative, and clarified and driven home with repeat listens.

But it almost wasn't called that. Speaking to MTV, K-Dot revealed that the record nearly went by Tu Pimp a Caterpillar. The Tu wouldn't have just been a reference to one of Lamar's biggest touchstones as an artist—it would've been the beginning of a title that worked as an acronym for Tupac. Not only does Kendrick have a fondness for covering the legend's legendary track "Hail Mary," he also does some interview-style back-and-forth with a 'Pac conversation from the archives.

Kendrick has played the acronym game before, having thrown one—with multiple interpretations—into his major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city. Talking to Rob Markman (watch the interview above), K-Dot outlined the decision to change the new title to its probably-one-day-immortal form, saying:

"Me changing it to Butterfly, I just wanted to show the brightness of life. And the word pimp has so much aggression. For me, it represents using my celebrity for good. Another reason is not being pimped by the industry—through my celebrity."

While Kendrick's had lots of exciting things happen in the wake of the non-Tupac-acronym sophomore album—a No. 1 Billboard 200 debut, two consecutive days breaking Spotify streaming records—the best was probably his performance on a flatbed truck in L.A. last week. Fans happily, sweatily jogged five kilometers to watch their hero rap his ass off. Even more surprising than the surprise album.