Kendrick Lamar shook the rap world last week when he decided to unexpectedly drop his latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly. In many ways, the album stood out, not just because the music was stellar and furthered how Kendrick is perceived as an artist, but because it took inspiration from a slew of different places.
At first blush, it's easy to point out all the jazz and funk influences. Bilal, who is featured on two songs, went so far as to say Kendrick's latest album is "high-level jazz." For many, To Pimp a Butterfly sounds unlike any rap music. But for those who have a knowledge of the underground Los Angeles artists who came before K. Dot, it was possible to pinpoint some of his possible influences. There were elements of '90s West Coast hip-hop all over Kendrick's work, and it made us think that there are older albums his fans could appreciate after hearing To Pimp a Butterfly. If you consider yourself one of them or just want to listen to something different, listen to these '90s underground West Coast rap albums if you like Kendrick Lamar's new work.
Matt Welty is a staff writer for Complex. Follow him @MatthewJWelty.