... a thoroughly engaging, enlightening portrait not just of celebrated rapper Kendrick Lamar's life and music...but more broadly of Lamar's indelible stamp on contemporary musical landscapes and popular culture ... Ultimately, The Butterfly Effect is more than an interesting biography: it's an investigation into what art can encapsulate and what kinds of change it can effect. And as Moore himself skillfully demonstrates, Lamar's contribution is worth celebrating, worth study, worth the flowers now.
The Butterfly Effect can feel a little padded ... More conversational than scholarly, it’s at its most effective when charting Lamar’s cultural awakening, prompted in part by a life-changing pilgrimage to South Africa and the death of Trayvon Martin, and the almost parallel rise of Black Lives Matter. It tries to be a lot of things—an artistic biography, a fan letter, an abbreviated history of West Coast hip-hop, an examination of Black art as a vehicle for resistance—and does most of them well. But it necessarily suffers from the frustrating opacity of its subject, and the unfortunate timing of its release. It concludes in early 2020, too soon to document the protests that arose this summer.
Music journalist Moore’s in-depth biography celebrates the life, struggles, and accolades of Compton’s own, rapper Kendrick Lamar ... Moore’s portrait of Lamar accounts for how one young man’s mindful lyrics and sounds can have a profound and far-reaching impact.