Wesley's Theory (feat. George Clinton & Thundercat)
To Pimp a Butterfly begins with a scratchy recording of a man singing, "Every n*gger is a star". The sample is taken from Jamaican reggae singer Boris Gardiner's "Every N*gger Is a Star", off the soundtrack of the 1974 blaxploitation film of the same name.
As the sample fades out, we hear a "hit me!", and P-funk frontman George Clinton begins speaking over a production by experimental L.A. producer Flying Lotus. FlyLo tweeted about his experiences working with Kendrick on the album, which you can read below. Also on the song (and much of the album) is the bassist/producer Thundercat, FlyLo's labelmate.
Clinton's words immediately reference the album title: "When the four corners of this cocoon collide / You'll slip through the cracks hoping that you'll survive / Gather your wind, take a deep look inside / Are you really who they idolize? / To pimp a butterfly." Then, Kendrick begins singing about a woman, saying, "At first I did love you / But now I just wanna fuck." Whoever the woman may be, Kendrick says she was his first girlfriend.
When K-Dot starts rapping, there's no mention of a woman; instead, he details how he wants to soak in all the fame immediately after he blows up, buying everything from Cadillacs to M-16s, and causing a media frenzy in the process.
Three minutes in, we hear a "beep", and Dr. Dre starts to speak, presumably on Kendrick's voicemail: "Remember the first time you came to the house? You said you wanted a spot like mine. But, remember, anybody can get it. The hard part is keeping it, motherfucker."
The song ends with repeated screams of "Tax man comin'!" We're off to quite a start.
Wesley's Theory— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 16, 2015
I played him a folder of beats that I was keeping close for my next @xCaptainMurphyx project. Gave him all the beats like fuxk it.— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 16, 2015
Later that night he told me he had the concept for the album.— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 16, 2015
He gets no credit for being a producer but he had a vision for this album. Dude gets involved w the whole process.— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 16, 2015
Sad thing about that folder of music is I heard he recorded to every one of those songs. Probably never gon hear those. Ooof— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 16, 2015
When I played him that beat he asked me who I imagined on it. I laughed and said @george_clinton . I never thought it would actually happen— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 16, 2015
That's already a dream come true— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 16, 2015
This fool @Thundercat is pretty much on the entire album. 🌟🌟🌟🌟✌️😭✌️— FLYLO (@flyinglotus) March 16, 2015