Terrence “Punch” Henderson, president of Top Dawg Entertainment, revealed an interesting detail about the making of Kendrick Lamar’s third studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly, on the album's four-year anniversary on Friday.
“I had a conversation with JAY-Z during the process of ‘to pimp a butterfly,’” Punch wrote on Twitter. “I told him ‘we are about to drop this album that’s going to challenge and possibly piss off our fan base’, he said ‘good! Do it now, and they’ll never be able to put y’all in a box’. He was right.”
While TPAB was a shift in Kendrick’s sound—influenced by a variety of black music genres—it was still a hit. The album was his first No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The project sold 324,000 actual units in its debut week (363,000 with streams included). Kendrick's prior effort, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, sold 242,000 copies its first week out to peak at No. 2.
In a second tweet, Punch gave TPAB some more current context, writing, “It’s actually a prophecy that speaks on the kingdoms(gov’t) on earth turning against religion. Can’t help but think about that in light of this shooting at the mosque.”
He references the shooting that took place earlier this week in the New Zealand mosques, where at least 49 people were reportedly killed. As Punch notes, spirituality, death, and politics are a few of the themes TPAB encapsulates.