Kendrick Lamar shares that "To Pimp a Butterfly" wasn't the original title of his latest album.
To Pimp a Butterfly is still sitting at #1 on the charts, though two weeks after its release, Kendrick Lamar just shared some revelatory information about his most ambitious project to date. In an interview with MTV, Kendrick explains the original title of the album was Tu Pimp a Caterpillar, the initials of which spell out Tupac, who, of course, made an appearance on the album's final track "Mortal Man".
Before Kendrick confirmed the pre-Butterfly title, he was impressed to see that a group of journalists, on DeadEndHipHop, had already suggested the idea that the title must be some sort of Tupac acronym. Kendrick said he changed Caterpillar to Butterfly to show "the brightness of life. And the word "pimp" has so much aggression." Kendrick also says the title signifies "using my celebrity for good" and "not being pimped by the industry through my celebrity". There are details, however, that will likely never be unearthed, as Kendrick says, "It gets even deeper than that for me. I could be talking all day about it."
K-Dot also explains the meaning behind the tracks "Wesley's Theory" and "King Kunta". "Wesley's Theory", the album's opening track, is a reference to Wesley Snipes and how the actor was thrown in jail for tax evasion. No one teaches poor black males how to manage money or celebrity, so if they do achieve success, the powers than be can take it from right under them. "King Kunta" focuses on the history of negative stereotypes all African-Americans have to reconcile and reclaiming one's history as a King instead of a slave.
The interviewer finishes by asking about Kendrick's bashing of rappers with ghostwriters on "King Kunta". Kendrick reveals he first got his name out there as a ghostwriter, so he has respect for the writers, but says, "As a new artist, you have to stand behind your work... and honor the code of hip-hop."
Watch the full interview below.