Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Frank Ocean VS. The Weeknd - Who Is Superior? A Near Impossible Decision to Make

There is no doubt that Frank Ocean and The Weeknd have come by storm and revolutionized the R&B genre with absolute sheer success. They have released album after album in the past couple of years that have all been met with universal acclaim. Not only are they changing the R&B genre, but they also helped add an edge to the Hip-Hop genre with their beautifully sung hooks, contributing to artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, Tyler The Creator, Wiz Khalifa and many more. They have become the modern versions of Nate Dogg (Not based on talent or style but based on appeal to the Hip-Hop genre). There is no doubt that they have left footprints in the music industry that won't wash away for a while. While both artists are great and loved by many, we have to get to the main point; who is better? Frank Ocean or The Weeknd? (Note: Me being Canadian will not make me biased towards The Weeknd by the way!) 

To be honest I almost didn't want to tackle this argument because I have a lot of love for both of these artists and their music. I have purchased both Trilogy (The compilation of House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence) and channel ORANGE on their respective days of release and have listened to them non-stop ever since. I have also listened to Frank Ocean's 2011 debut nostalgia, ULTRA over and over again. I checked as many collaborations I can find that these artists have done and I revisited their albums prior to this blog entry (Which was fun to do!) to make sure my decision is as accurate as possible. Now as much as I love these artists and don't really want to place one over the other, I guess I would have to say that I prefer Frank Ocean's music to The Weeknd's music. Now hold on! Before you say anything I  just want to say that I still got mad love for The Weeknd and I have a lot of respect for him, but I prefer Frank Ocean over him by a hair over a few main reasons. 

First of all, I think Frank Ocean's musical consistency and concept is a little more enjoyable than that of The Weeknd's. Through The Weeknd's mixtapes, Abel revisits the same concepts over and over again. He sings about the hardness of relationships, the exhilaration of the party life and his experiences with drugs and other substances. While he does this consistently and incredibly with lyrics that completely draw you into his stories, he doesn't ever seem to stray off and experiment with something different. Frank Ocean on the other hand, experiments with his music. He sings about topics ranging from love, anxiety, apprehension but also with nostalgia, spirituality, world issues, and how he deals with all the external things that affect his life. You feel a lot more passion in Frank Ocean's songs in the way he embodies the subject matter. He makes you feel for him and feel sympathy for him as well. When listening to The Weeknd's music, you don't feel as sympathetic for the consequences he has to face because you feel like he deserves what he got. I also feel Frank Ocean is better when it comes to storytelling in his songs. Just listen to Novacane, Swim Good, and American Wedding (The latter being one of my favorite Frank Ocean songs) and become absorbed into his world!

While The Weeknd's voice can be a lot stronger on many occasions, I feel Frank Ocean's voice is more real and interesting to listen to. Frank Ocean doesn't need to use any auto-tune or hard hitting production to enhance his voice. He sings naturally and if you listen to his live performances, you don't see a huge difference between his voice on a track and his voice in real life. Frank Ocean is also able to hit high notes beautifully. For example, listen to Bad Religion, especially the chorus and the second half of the song. When he hits "If it brings me to my knees" on the chorus, there's no way you won't get goosebumps. You can also see his vocal range on songs like Sweet Life and on the second chorus of American Wedding. While The Weeknd has a great strong voice, he does use auto-tune to aid the strength of his voice. Now don't get it mixed up when I say he uses auto-tune to aid the strength of his voice. I'm not saying he sings in auto-tune, but he merely uses auto-tune as a tool to carry his voice to higher higher points. He does this very successfully, but it does remove the natural sound of his voice. 

Now I don't want this to sound like I'm bashing The Weeknd, I'm merely comparing him to Frank Ocean and choosing who is better. I knew going into this that it would be a hard decision to make, which is why I hesitated to do this in the first place, but I guess I will always like Frank Ocean just a tiny bit better. I do have to say though that The Weeknd sings beautifully in French, which was only showcased on one song called Montreal on his third mixtape Echoes of Silence. I wish The Weeknd did more songs like this one because his voice fits perfectly with the French lyrics. The Weeknd also is better to listen to when your just feeling down and want to mend a broken heart. Either way, I hate that we have to put one over the other. Why argue which is better when both do what they do exceptionally? It's the equivalence of arguing which is better between 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. (Which I might visit later). But I felt like I needed to do this because my love for Frank Ocean's music has always outweighed that of The Weeknd's music. Either way, both are great artists that are the future of the R&B genre. They both have left their mark in the music industry and I'm sure will have bright futures. 

What do you think? Which artist is better? Frank Ocean or The Weeknd? Should we even compare these two artists? Post a comment and let me know what you think! I would love to hear everyone's opinions. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Top 5 Best Albums of 2012

So 2012 is almost over and since the world didn't end, I feel it is necessary to talk about the five album I consider to be the best of the year. This was a great year in Hip-Hop with new acts dropping very raw and exceptional music and older ones coming back to show us they still got it. This list won't only feature rap albums, but considering Hip-Hop is my favorite genre, you might see most of them are Hip-Hop albums! So without further ado, I bring to you my favorite albums of 2012: 

5- Life Is Good - Nas
Nas's rapping career has been bumpy ever since his debut Illmatic believe it or not. Ever since Illmatic dropped, every album he has dropped has been compared to it and ripped apart. That's not to say he hasn't dropped great albums ever since, but he will always be put in a position were nothing is better than Illmatic. With Life is Good, Nas proves that for the first time in a while, he can put out a cohesive and consistent album. I haven't seen Nas rap this good since God's Son or even Stillmatic. Nas raps with introspective lyrics as well as putting out songs with great punchlines and beautiful hooks. Nas also shows that his storytelling abilities are still intact with songs like "No Introduction" which is one of my favorite songs of the year. This album has it all, from great lyrics to grand production. Nas only had one guest rapper on this album, with Rick Ross on Accident Murderers, and even though Rozay didn't stay on topic as much as he should've, he still dropped a great verse. If you're a Hip-Hop fan and haven't checked Life is Good yet, then I highly recommend it! It didn't get four Grammy nominations (Including Best Rap Album) for nothing!

Best Tracks on the Album: No Introduction, Daughters, A Queens Story & Loco-Motive

4- channel ORANGE - Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean has already left his mark on the R&B genre with his 2011 mixtape nostalgia, ULTRA. Frank Ocean may not have the strongest voice in the music industry right now, but damn it he can sing! Frank Ocean has got to be one of the best songwriters in the business. He ghostwrote for artists like Usher, John Legend, Justin Bieber and Beyonce but left his best songs for his own album. With channel ORANGE, Frank Ocean shows how he improved from his debut. Frank Ocean's songwriting got more mature. With this album, Frank Ocean still had the creative control but you can see his originality increased incredibly. His usage of metaphors and imagery in his songs help portray the atmosphere of a troubled man he's singing about. He also uses these techniques to tell stories, especially Pyramids, the 10 minute R&B epic. The production on this album is phenomenal, with the strings on songs like Thinkin' Bout You and Bad Religion giving a classical feeling to the album. Pharrel's production on Sweet Life is the best on the album, creating a classic 80s atmosphere to the song which sounds like a Michael Jackson or Prince song. The guest appearances on this album are also great, with Andre 3000 dropping a great verse on Pink Matter. So if you haven't checked the "Album of the Year" nominated album yet, then I highly recommend it!

Best Tracks on the Album: Sweet Life, Bad Religion, Lost, Pink Matter & Crack Rock

3- Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 - Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco proves that he hasn't lost his rapping ability in this triumphant come-back. Lupe showcases how he's able to rap over many political and social issues such as war, the usage of the N-word, the perception of females in our society and many other topics. The lead single (and personal favorite) Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free) combines many different problems we have in our world in one 4 minute song with a Pete Rock sample beat. In Form Follows Function, Lupe shows his lyrical abilities dropping many metaphors, double entendres, and word play illustrating why you shouldn't really question his rapping ability. While the middle songs (tracks 9-11) are forgettable, this album remains one of favorites of the year and I highly recommend it. For my full review, click here.

Best Tracks on the Album: Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free), Form Follows Function, Strange Fruition & Bitch Bad.

2- Control System - Ab-Soul
Black Hippy member Ab-Soul returns with his sophomore album Control System with more fire and ambition than ever! Ab-Soul's lyricism has improved by far from his debut Longterm Mentality. With this album, you can see multiple sides of Ab-Soul, from his violent and angered side to his sad and sympathetic side. You can see how he reacts to certain situations and how he judges himself in songs like Track Two. His flow simply merges with the beat behind the song and you can enjoy the crazy lyrics he spits. All members of Black Hippy are on this album, with a collaborative bonus track that goes hard! One of my favorite songs on this album is one of the most touching songs I ever heard called The Book of Soul, in which Ab-Soul raps about the loss of his long love Alori Joh and how her passing away affected his life. The jazzy production on this song just puts you in his sorrow and his lyrics make you want to cry. So in the end I highly recommend you listen to this album. Its a fresh way to look at Hip-Hop and you can be absorbed by Ab-Soul's multiple personalities. 

Best Tracks on the Album: The Book of Soul, ILLuminate, Beautiful Death, Track Two & Pineal Gland

1- good kid, m.A.A.d city - Kendrick Lamar
There is no doubt in my mind that 10 to 15 years from now, Hip-Hop fans will look back and say "Damn, Kendrick Lamar's debut was a classic". Hell, people have already been calling it a classic ever since it dropped and it deserves all the praise its getting. It ended up on virtually all of music critic's top ten lists of the year and even topping some. With his debut, Kendrick puts you in the violent streets of Compton filling his own shoes. You walk in Kendrick's footsteps, experience his happy moments, dangers and tragedies and mourn with him. His flow is so perfect that he is able to ride any beat thrown at him. The guest features on this album are carefully placed in perfect spots to avoid wrecking the flow and cohesiveness of the album. The production on this album are some of the best of the year and Dr. Dre's credibility of the artists he signs has gotten even stronger. For my full review, click here. I highly recommend you check this album out, even if you aren't a Hip-Hop fan. 

Best Tracks on the Album: Sing About Me, The Art of Peer Pressure, good kid, m.A.A.d city & Compton.

Honorable Mentions:
Skelethon - Aesop Rock
4eva N A Day - Big K.R.I.T.
Cure 4 Cancer - EL-P
R.A.P. Music - Killer Mike
The Heist - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 
Live From the Underground - Big K.R.I.T.

So those are my favorite albums of 2012. What were yours? Please leave a comment telling me what your favorite albums of the year were and what you thought of my list!

*Update: After much consideration and revisits, I have formed a new list of my favorite albums of 2012. However, instead of a top 5, I have formed a top 10. I felt after revisiting many of this year's great albums, some of them stood out more as time passed. So here is my updated list:

1- good kid, m.A.A.d city - Kendrick Lamar
2- R.A.P. Music - Killer Mike
3- Control System - Ab-Soul
4- Plateau Vision - Lushlife
5- Cancer 4 Cure - El-P
6- Skelethon - Aesop Rock
7- Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color
8- We Don't Even Live Here - P.O.S.
9- PEEP: The APROcalypse - Pro Era
10- 4eva N A Day - Big K.R.I.T.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Direction of Hip-Hop

To start off, I would like to confess that I wasn't always a Hip-Hop fan. I remember back in 6th and 7th grade, songs like "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" and "Lollipop" dropped and people were going crazy about them, yet I found myself despising the genre because of them. My music taste was not set on any specific genre, and I found myself just listening to anything on the radio. That was up until two years ago when I met these people in my sophomore year of high school, whom are now my best friends, and they introduced me to the Hip-Hop genre from a different perspective. At the time, Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" and Lil Wayne's "I Am Not A Human Being" dropped and I felt very attracted to the genre all of a sudden (Don't judge me for my liking of the Lil Wayne album, just keep reading!). Kanye's mesmorizing beats and his incredible lyrics touched me from a humorous and an emotional side and Lil Wayne just put me in a good mood. When I first heard MBDTF, I wanted to learn more about the genre! I wanted to make sure that I can gain as much access to this genre as possible and look at it from different perspectives. While my friends mainly focused on Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Eminem and other rappers who were dropping new music at the time, I wanted to go further back. I found myself going back and back, from Tha Carter III to The College Dropout to The Slim Shady LP to Me Against the World to Illmatic and all the way back to LL Cool J. I found myself learning more and more about the genre day by day, and my love for the Hip-Hop music I was first exposed to seemed to fade slowly...

I later found myself telling my friends of the Hip-Hop music I started focusing on more, which consisted of 2Pac |(R.I.P.), Nas, The Notorious B.I.G. (R.I.P.), Eminem (his older stuff), Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Rakim, Lupe Fiasco and many more. However, to my shock, my friends didn't know the music I was telling them about, so I became the one who was getting them into Hip-Hop. 

The reason I'm telling you all of this is because it reflects on my point of view about the perspective of the Hip-Hop genre. A lot of the die hard Hip-Hop fans are stating the the genre is dead and mainstream rappers are "killing" the genre with terrible lyrics that have no depth or context. On the other hand, the newer generation seems to state that this is what Hip-Hop is all about, only being an entertaining tool to get "hyped" about and that the conscious Rap is unnecessary. Does this mean that the genre is dead? Are today's rappers destroying the genre because of their lyrics? Is the perception of Hip-Hop solely based on the image of the new rappers which many people criticize? To all of these questions, I have to say no. 

Music isn't something constant, it is always changing and evolving. Whether it is Hip-Hop, Rock, R&B or any other genre, people cannot expect any genre to remain the same. Music changes with the people that listen to it and simultaneously we change with the music as well. Many rappers are smart enough to know what people think and care about in our generation, whether it ranges from money, sex and/or power. Rappers take these features into their own advantage and place them in their music. This doesn't mean however that all Hip-Hop fans look for these features, but just a good portion of them. Other Hip-Hop fans who tend to focus on more conscious topics can easily go to rappers like Lupe Fiasco, Elzhi, Ab-Soul and many others. If you are looking for more introspective and deep lyrics, then listen to those rappers, but if you just want to get pumped up and listen to something simple, then the commercial Hip-Hop is for you. Does this make you a bad person if you listen to the mainstream Hip-Hop? No it doesn't, it only gives you your own personal music taste and in the end, everyone has their own opinion.

This is were my story fits in. I liked the commercial Hip-Hop at first but when I was exposed to the other forms of the genre, I found myself liking the conscious Hip-Hop more. But I didn't criticize my friends who were into the commercial Hip-Hop just for having a different taste in music. Hip-Hop is what we allow it to be. If you feel like the new Hip-Hop is not suited for you, then look further and you can find many different rappers who can rap with depth like Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, Elzhi, Saigon, J. Cole and many more. This doesn't give you the right to criticize people who like the new Hip-Hop because they seem to like it and vibe to it and in the end, isn't that what music is all about? If you don't like Lil Wayne, don't buy his album! Don't buy his songs! Just listen to the music you like and you'll be happy to be transported into the side of the genre you prefer. If you do like Lil Wayne, then by all means do so. As the picture on the left says "Hip-Hop Ain't Dead It Lives In My Head", and this is how we must treat music of all genres.Hip-Hop is not dead, but it is only evolving...


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Grammy Predictions: Rap Field

Ever since the Grammys released its nominations for their 55th annual ceremony, I've been trying to figure out who will take home the awards for the respective category. I tend to focus mostly on the Rap category because it is the genre I prefer. In this blog entry, I will state my predictions for each of the categories of the Rap field, any snubs that I believe have occurred and any surprises as well. 

Best Rap/Sung Collaborations: 

- Wild Ones (Feat. Sia) - Flo Rida
- No Church in the Wild (Feat. Frank Ocean) - Jay-Z & Kanye West
- Cherry Wine (Feat. Amy Winehouse) - Nas
- Talk That Talk (Feat. Jay-Z) - Rihanna
- Tonight (Best You Ever Had) (Feat. Ludacris) - John Legend

For this category, I can easily rule out all but No Church in the Wild and Cherry Wine because I believe those two are the best of the list. No Church in the Wild is a very dark ominous track with a great verse from Jay-Z and a beautifully sung hook by Frank Ocean. Cherry Wine was also a very great track with a beautifully sung chorus by the late Amy Winehouse (R.I.P.) while Nas spits great lyrics about love and soulmates. It is hard to choose between the two, so I'll give it to the song I prefer (Cherry Wine), but I'm pretty sure the award won't go to any other songs in this category.

 Best Rap Performance:

- HYFR (Hell Ya F**kin' Right) (Feat. Lil Wayne) - Drake
- Ni**as in Paris - Jay-Z & Kanye West
- Daughters - Nas
- Mercy (Feat. Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz) - Kanye West
- I Do (Feat. Andre 3000 & Jay-Z) - Young Jeezy 

I personally want Nas's Daughters to take this one because Nas performed this on Letterman and The Colbert Report flawlessly. With this song, Nas tackles how he hasn't been the best role model for his daughter and how he wants to become a better father. I believe this is one of the best rap songs released this year and I really wish it would receive this honor. While I want Nas to win this one, I think Jay-Z & Kanye West's Ni**as in Paris will win because of the popularity of the song, having been performed 8-10 consecutive times in concerts, which gives it a good chance of winning. So even though I want Daughters to win, I do think Ni**as in Paris has a higher chance of winning.   

Best Rap Song:

Daughters - Nas
Lotus Flower Bomb (Feat. Miguel) - Wale
Mercy (Feat. Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz) - Kanye West
The Motto (Feat. Lil Wayne) - Drake 
Ni**as in Paris - Jay-Z & Kanye West
Young, Wild & Free (Feat. Bruno Mars) - Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa 

This category is kinda hard to predict because so many of the songs in this category were so successful that they might have a better chance of winning due to their exposure while others were less successful but received great acclaim. To make it easier, I will break it down to two possibilities: Daughters or Ni**as in Paris. For the same reasons I have talked about before, I think these two have a high chance of winning. I would rather see Nas win because he's been in the game for over two decades and still has no Grammys while Kanye West and Jay-Z have been winning year after year. I wouln't be surprised if The Motto took it because of its popularity, but I would prefer if one of the other two won it. 

Best Rap Album:

Take Care - Drake
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 - Lupe Fiasco
Life is Good - Nas
Undun - The Roots
God Forgives, I Don't - Rick Ross
Based On A T.R.U. Story - 2 Chainz

For this category in particular, I find it hard to predict because my decision would vary from who I WANT to win and who I THINK will win. I would love to see Lupe Fiasco or The Roots walk off with this one, because they might be the most deserving for this category. I also want Nas to win because he deserves a Grammy after all those years but after thinking about it for some time, I came to a final decision. I think Drake's Take Care is going to take this one home. Take Care blew critics away last year and ended on many publications' End of the Year lists. It sold more than all the other albums in this category combined (1.8 million copies!), giving it a higher chance of winning. HOWEVER, since it was released at the end of last year, critics might be more leaned on to voting for the newer acclaimed album Life Is Good, which many commended as being Nas's most cohesive and best album since Stillmatic. Either way, they're both great albums that I loved, so I'm gonna label both as possibilities. 


Lupe Fiasco's "Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)": I thought this was one of the best songs released in 2012 and I really thought it would land at least a Best Rap Performance nomination, but Lupe only received one nomination that he will probably lose. 

Drake's "Take Care (Feat. Rihanna)": This ballad between Rihanna and Drake was very well received and attained great commercial performance. I expected to find it nominated in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category but it wasn't. But both artists received nominations this year, so they shouldn't be too upset about this. 

Drake's "Crew Love (Feat. The Weeknd)": I expected this song, assisted by The Weeknd's beautifully sung contribution, to land a nomination in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category, but sadly it didn't...

Lupe Fiasco's "Battle Scars": I believe this song truly deserved a nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration because Guy Sebastian's vocals on that track were incredible and Lupe killed the verses on this one. It was very disappointing to see this song lacking a nomination for the mentioned category.


2 Chainz "Based on a T.R.U. Story" nomination for Best Rap Album: When I heard this I thought it was a joke. Not that I have any hate for 2 Chainz (He is a hype performer), but I don't believe his album was good enough to be nominated, good enough at all as a matter of fact! Congrats anyway...

Wale's "Lotus Flower Bomb" nomination for Best Rap Song: Not really Wale's biggest fan but I wasn't expecting a nomination for him in any category.

Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa's "Young, Wild & Free" nomination for Best Rap Song: I didn't really like this song or the appeal so to see it nominated for this honor instead of many other great songs was very disappointing. 

Flo Rida's "Wild Ones" nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: I have always despised Flo Rida for taking Hip-Hop in a Pop oriented direction. I never considered his music "Rap" so it was also disappointing to see this song get a nomination. At least it wasn't Whistle...

So these are my predictions for the forthcoming 55th Grammy Awards. I might do predictions for the Genral Field soon, but until then take care. 

What do you think? Do you have similar predictions or do you not agree with mine? Please comment and let me know :)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city" - ALBUM REVIEW

So its nearing the end of the year and as Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city hits the Gold certification, it kinda feels great to see a great album achieve a landmark that now-a-days feels so hard to achieve; especially if your a rookie and just dropped your debut. But to call Mr. Duckworth a rookie would be wrong, for if you listen to his music, it feels as if he's been rapping for years, and he has but on a much smaller scale. After last year's Section.80,  fans have been patiently waiting for Kendrick Lamar to drop his major label debut, released through Dr. Dre's Aftermath. Section.80 was a breath of fresh air in the Hip-Hop genre, and it showed Kendrick Lamar spitting some of the most conscious lyrics out there. He also proves that he is able to convey stories in his raps almost perfectly. The song HiiPoWeR  was highly acclaimed, cited as being one of the best Hip-Hop songs of the year. HipHopDX gave him the honour of Verse of the Year and XXL Magazine called it “one of the finest tracks of the year”. All the acclaim of Section.80 put a lot of pressure on Kendrick Lamar's shoulders to deliver another great album in his major label debut. But did Kendrick Lamar deliver?

It is safe to say that good kid, m.A.A.d city is without a doubt one of (if not) the best album released this year. Kendrick Lamar used this album not to just give us just an ordinary Rap album, but used the album to tell us the story of his life in his hometown Compton. He guides us through how his life unravels in Compton and how he responds and behaves to things like lust, sex, drugs, alcohol and crime. The opening track Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter reveals how Kendrick Lamar meets this girl named Sherane and how he's confused about whether he's in love with her or just wants to have sex with her. The next song, Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe, is a very smooth cool song that puts you in a mellow mood but doesn't sacrifice crewed and offensive lyrics. Backseat Freestyle then kicks in with a Hit-Boy produced beat that shows Kendrick spitting fire. If you were to listen to it on its own without following the sequence of the album, you would probably think Kendrick Lamar is just being cocky and braggadocios through lyrics like "I pray my d**k get big as the Eiffel Tower/so I can f**k the world for 72 hours". But if you followed the album sequence, you would know that Kendrick is in the backseat of a car hanging out with his friends having a good time as they cruise in Compton. 

The Art of Peer Pressure comes in next, with a very simple beat, but very intense lyrics. Kendrick talks about how he and he friends journey around Compton committing crimes and almost getting caught by the police. This is probably one of the most intense songs I've heard in a while. Money Trees comes next and became very popular amongst fans. Its the type of song you would want to get high to, not that I'm encouraging anyone to do this! Jay Rock drops an excellent verse and suits the song content. Poetic Justice, the highly anticipated song with guest feature Drake is near perfection. Kendrick Lamar drops excellent verses referencing his relationship with Sherane from the first song. Putting Drake in the song however didn't hurt the song but increased its epicness. You could see Kendrick was very careful on who he wants on the album an where he's placing them. Drake fits in perfectly with the song and its content as well. And the sampling of Janet Jackson's hit "Any Time, Any Place" is one of the best sample in a song I heard in a while.

good kid comes in next with a very gritty atmosphere and great production from Pharrell. m.A.A.d city continues on from good kid in the song content of how dangerous Compton is and all the crime its filled with. In m.A.A.d city, you could hear Kendrick rapping in a voice the is always cracking, showing us that he is rapping from his teenage perspective. And the production on that song is incredible, with the end sounding like something you would hear on Dr. Dre's The Chronic! Swimming Pools (Drank) follows, a song everyone probably already heard on the radio. Its great to see a song like this receive wide spread appeal. Kendrick raps about how alcohol has had an effect on his life. When asked about this song, Kendrick talked about how earlier in his life, he'd be in houses with enough alcohol to literally feel a swimming pool. The song that follows is in my opinion one of the best songs of the year.  

Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst, a two part song, with the former being a very reflective song. He raps from a positive perspective and a negative one, the latter being from the perspective of Keisha's sister from the song Keisha's Song from Section.80. She tells him how he had no right to rap about her unfortunate life and how he shouldn't be criticizing prostitution, as she is one herself and is very comfortable with her life. On the third verse, Kendrick raps from his own perspective, reflecting on how his fame has and his own music effected the people around him and has changed his life as well. It is a very touching song that I believe deserves more recognition. On Real, Kendrick raps about what he considers to be real in society and what people should prioritize in their lives. Finally, the album ends with a Just Blaze produced song called Compton, paying homage to his hometown along side fellow rapper and mentor Dr. Dre. This is the type of song that if the album was a movie, it would play at the credits. The production from Just Blaze is amazing and the talk box effect on the end has got to be the most nostalgic moment in Hip-Hop in a while. It reminded me of 2Pac's California Love.

From his multiple collaborations on songs by Game, Drake, A$AP Rocky, Tech N9ne and many others. Kendrick Lamar has proven that he is without a doubt the savior of Hip-Hop. Many have compared him to the deceased rapper Tupac Shakur (R.I.P.), and while that is a major comparison, you could tell that what is meant is that Kendrick is trying to portray the same message and musical content Tupac did when he was alive. There is no doubt in my mind that with this modern classic, Kendrick Lamar's future seems very bright and Hip-Hop fans have something to look up to from now on. 

10/10 - Classic

Favourite Track(s):
Sing About Me/I'm Dying of Thirst - The Art Of Peer Pressure - good kid - m.A.A.d city - Compton - Backseat Freestyle

Least Favourite Track(s):

Note: Not to say that Real isn't a good song (it is great), but I guess its the one I would replay the least. 

What did you think of the album? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Was it more than what you expected or was it a big disappointment? Feel free to comment on what you thought about the album!