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!

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