As Kendrick himself put it, "The Caterpillar is a Prisoner to the Streets That Conceived It," ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ demonstrated Kendrick's transformation from a Caterpillar, a prisoner of the system, into a free Butterfly with the ability to spread its wings and fly.
Kendrick accomplishes this by succeeding as an artist and emancipating himself from the criminal life of Compton. Album title: "To Pimp A Butterfly", I see "to pimp a Butterfly" as Kendrick's new-found realisation of how the music industry "pimp" the butterflies (monetize black artists and exploit black culture) as he has now seen the world from the perspective of both the caterpillar and the butterfly. Even though they are no longer a caterpillar, and to still keep them "imprisoned." After realising that the caterpillar and butterfly are identical despite their vast differences there is more to pimp a butterfly than just music the one-hour 18-minute album produces.
TU Pimp A Caterpillar (TUPAC) was the project's original title and the album begins and ends with a beautiful spoken-word poem so we know this is an ephemeral poem to finally explain the whole message not to me or you but to Tupac to hear slowly get played out and the caterpillar and butterfly are very different from one another the butterfly represents the caterpillars' ability thoughtfulness and beauty while the pessimistic caterpillar sees the butterfly as weak and plans to use it for his own gain the caterpillars only purpose is to consume everything nearby in order to defend itself from this insane city this was perfectly done on the street where it was born the caterpillar and butterfly represent the neighbourhood and culture and the butterfly gives light on conditions that the caterpillar had never considered putting a stop to their never-ending fight.
There are many facets of rap in the mainstream yet despite the fact that black culture is one of society's biggest obsessions it is also despised by the general public due to the persistent problem of racism by using his music as a platform to address issues related to it and the plethora of other subjects he discusses on the album, Kendrick describes how he had to pimp the butterflies fondness in society for black music for his own benefit while individuals are now talking about racism which may not have happened before because of him.
The author is a student at NMIMS and is one of the winners of The FPJ's Pen To Paper Contest this year.