In what may be a case of unfortunate timing, Kendrick Lamar will appear in an extended Spotify podcast series that examines his classic 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly” — premiering Wednesday (Feb. 16). The show was actually announced at the beginning of January, but debuts in the wake of the firestorm of controversy around the company’s stance on Joe Rogan’s podcast spreading Covid-19 misinformation and his frequent past use of racial slurs on his program, and presumably should not be read as a statement from Lamar on that situation.
Reps for Lamar did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment. However, the series premiere follows Lamar’s appearance with Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent at the Super Bowl, where many fans noticed the absence of some of the more controversial lyrics from Lamar’s song “Alright.”
Asked directly by TMZ on Monday about the lyric omission, Dr. Dre said, “There were a few things that we had to change, but it was like really minor things,” adding that the NFL was aware that Eminem would take a knee during the performance in solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stance protesting police violence against the Black community. While the NFL had issues with Lamar’s lyrics, however, “Em taking a knee, that was him doing that on his own and there was no problem with that,” Dre said.
The five-part podcast will appear on Spotify’s “The Big Hit Show,” a series hosted by music journalist Alex Pappademas that says it will take listeners on an “epic journey that spans genres, mediums, and generations to explore what happens when a wildly successful piece of pop culture gets so big that it changes the world.”
The series, which examined the “Twilight” book and film in its first season, takes a deep dive into the story behind Lamar’s sophomore album. “In season 2 of The Big Hit Show, the best rapper alive tries to figure out what to do next, channeling the pressures of fame and the pain of a generation into a career-defining masterwork,” the description reads.
The series, which is produced by former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground media company, features a clip of Lamar and two of the album’s guests, P-Funk founder George Clinton and rapper Rapsody.
“In hip-hop we have this thing the sophomore jinx,” Lamar says . “I took it upon myself to do something that inspires me… Going back into the album it was me explaining my experiences and what emotions it brought up from that experience, and tell them like, ‘Yo, it’s something bigger than Compton and where we from.’”
Hear the excerpt above.
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