What do OK Computer, Abbey Road, and Loveless have in common? They’re good, but not quite as good as To Pimp a Butterfly — at least according to the cumulative scoring on Rate Your Music. Kendrick Lamar’s landmark 2015 album now has a 4.34 rating on the popular community review site, suprassing Radiohead’s OK Computer as the highest-ranked album of all time on the platform.
According to its FAQ page, Rate Your Music uses a complex algorithm to calculate an album’s score, which considers factors including total number of reviews, each user’s activity level on the site, and more. In short: To Pimp a Butterfly’s ranking didn’t just come from a bunch of hardcore Kendrick fans with a vendetta against Radiohead. Unlike sites like Metacritic, Rate Your Music is entirely community-based, but this all means that it tends to be a pretty reliable indicator of an album’s legacy over time.
The next highest-rated rap album in the Rate Your Music archives comes at number 6 with Madlib and the late MF DOOM’s classic Madvillainy. Kendrick appears near the top again with his sophomore LP good kid, m.A.A.d city at number 11. Nas’ Illmatic, The Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy are ranked at 18, 23, and 28 respectively.
Whatever your favorite Kendrick album might be, when it comes down to it, we can’t disagree with To Pimp a Butterfly’s high ranking. After all, we named it one of the greatest albums of all time, and upon its release, we gave it a glowing review and named Kendrick our Artist of the Year. K Dot himself reflected on the making of the record last year on the Spotify podcast The Big Hit Show. His latest album was 2022’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.
Rate Your Music’s Top Albums of All Time
01. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
02. Radiohead – OK Computer
03. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
04. King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
05. Radiohead – Kid A
06. Madvillain – Madvillainy
07. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
08. Radiohead – In Rainbows
09. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
10. The Beatles – Abbey Road
11. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
12. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
13. The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico
14. Talking Heads – Remain in Light
15. Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
16. The Beatles – Revolver
17. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
18. Nas – Illmatic
19. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
20. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Attenas to Heaven!