In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, hip-hop mastermind Kendrick Lamar shared the poetic inspiration behind the title of his third studio album, To Pimp A Butterfly. “Just putting the word ‘pimp’ next to ‘butterfly’… It’s a trip,” Lamar said. “That’s something that will be a phrase forever. It’ll be taught in college courses. I truly believe that.” Lamar’s vision is now becoming something of a reality: the Grammy Award-winning album is being permanently shelved in Harvard University’s library.
To Pimp A Butterfly is one of the first albums to be archived as a part of “These Are The Breaks,” a project curated by producer and Harvard fellow 9th Wonder. The project serves to study “the underworld of sampling in hip-hop, and how a bridge is created to connect the pre-hip-hop and post golden era hip-hop generation.” Other works chosen for the archive include Nas’ Illmatic, A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, and Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Each album was rebound to include every component from the liner notes to the vinyl that was used in production. They can be found at Harvard University’s Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library.