Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ Influenced David Bowie’s New Album

Carl Williott | November 24, 2015 10:28 am

David Bowie has always defied expectations, and that looks to be no different on his forthcoming album ★ (a.k.a. Blackstar, out January 8). In an new interview, his longtime producer Tony Visconti says the LP was partially inspired by Kendrick Lamar‘s To Pimp A Butterfly and its freewheeling, genre-blurring approach.

“We were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar,” Visconti told Rolling Stone. “We wound up with nothing like that, but we loved the fact Kendrick was so open-minded and he didn’t do a straight-up hip-hop record. He threw everything on there, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. The goal, in many, many ways, was to avoid rock & roll.”

Bowie has never been one to color inside rock’s lines anyway, so the fact that TPAB has reinvigorated his sense of musical exploration/experimentation is especially compelling. And it’s another indicator of that album’s challenging musicality.