Kendrick Lamar is just different. Although, he’s clearly influenced by some of rap’s greats, like Tupac, K.Dot is following a path entirely his own. This month, the Compton rapper’s Rollingstone cover caused some ruckus, but no amount of press could overshadow Sunday’s surprise release of To Pimp A Butterfly.

“You take a kid out of Compton, and he has to meet these different types of people that are not black,” Mr. Lamar told the NYTimes. And it’s clear as day that Kendrick has been struggling with race issues, personal struggles, depression and more.

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K. Dot expanded how much inner turmoil he went through to make sure he was sending the right messages and really expressing how he feels on his new album.

“I know every artist feels this way, but in order for it to come across on record for your average 9-to-5-er is the tricky part,” he said. “I have to make it where you truly understand: This is me pouring out my soul on the record. You’re gonna feel it because you too have pain. It might not be like mine, but you’re gonna feel it.”

“You can tell a person about fame and fortune all you want, but until you’re really in it and you know the person that you can become …” he said, trailing off as he was asked about his issues with depression from his rise to fame. “I’m the closest thing to a preacher that they have,” says Kendrick about the way he impacts fans. “I know that from being on tour — kids are living by my music.”

As a God fearing man, Kendrick added: “My word will never be as strong as God’s word. All I am is just a vessel, doing his work.”

Below, check out a collection of To Pimp A Butterfly related content from today.

COMPLEX: Rapsody Details Her Feature on Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ Album
OKAYPLAYER: Flying Lotus Shares Details On Kendrick’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’
ROLLINGSTONE: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’: A Track-by-Track Guide
The FADER: R.I.P. Release Dates, From Beyoncé to Kendrick Lamar
VIBE: 25 Early Twitter Reactions To Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’
MTV: Kendrick Lamar Interviews 2Pac On To Pimp A Butterfly
2DOPEBOYZ: Kendrick Lamar Is The Best Emcee Of The Digital Era
THE GUARDIAN: Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly first-listen review

Below, we have a look at the official album packaging.

[Album Booklet Via HHNM]

On the album’s very last track, “Mortal Man,” the rapper mentally interviews ‘Pac and then offers up a poem (penned by a close friend) that best describes his album.

“Kendrick Lamar: The caterpillar is a prisoner to the streets that conceived it. It’s only job is to eat or consume everything around it in order to protect itself from this Maad City. While consuming its environment, the caterpillar begins to notice ways to survive. One thing it notices is how much the world shuns him but praises the butterfly

The butterfly represents the talent, the thoughtfulness and the beauty within the caterpillar. But having a harsh outlook on life, the caterpillar sees the butterfly as weak and figures out a way to pimp it to its own benefits. Already surrounded by this Maad City, the caterpillar goes to work on the cocoon which institutionalizes him. He can no longer see past his own thoughts, he’s trapped. While trapped inside these walls certain ideas take root. Such as ‘goin home and bringing back new concepts to this Maad City.’ The result: wings begin to emerge, breaking the cycle of feeling stagnant. Finally free, the butterfly sheds light on situations that the caterpillar never considered, ending a lifetime of struggle. I know the caterpillar and the butterfly are different. They are one in the same.”

What’s your perspective on that? Pac… Pac…

Listen to the Full 2Pac Interview That’s Featured On Kendrick Lamar’s New Album
Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ Album Available Early on iTunes
Kendrick Lamar – “The Blacker The Berry”
Kendrick Lamar – “i” (Video)
Kendrick Lamar Has a Title For His New Album (And It Isn’t “Untitled”)
Kendrick Lamar Debuts New Song on ‘Colbert Report’