The Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city album is here, without a doubt one of the most anticipated albums in years. Many have even argued that it's the most significant album debut since “Illmatic.”
Yeah, I know…Blasphemy!
But that's the conversation being had around the web right now, for me personally the jury is still out on that.
I believe that's a conversation for another time, but what we can talk about is this album being one of the most important album releases this year, or even in recent years.
“good kid, m.A.A.d city” represents the changing of the guards in Hip Hop, a sign that we're moving away from the “1 + 2 = 3” simpleton way of rapping back to lyricists being at the forefront of rap.
I believe this is something Drake started with Thank Me Later in 2010, though many would disagree because they don't believe Drake is a legitimate lyricist. That's debatable but that album signaled a change in what would shape the next 10 or so years of Hip-Hop.
This was further confirmed with the release of J. Cole's “Cole World: The Sideline Story” in 2011, another major release from a true lyricist.
Now we have Kendrick Lamar who basically brought the West Coast back, not mention being likened to Nas and 2 Pac due to his subject matter even before the release of his album.
So now that the album has arrived lets get into it.
Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city Review
1. Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter's Daughter
The perfect track to start the album off with, produced by Tha Bizness, at first I thought Sherane was a metaphor for something else but Kendrick is referring to an actually girl, this will play out throughout the album in skits.
The skits plastered all over this album is what makes it flow so well, after this track was over Kendrick's mom calls him asking where he is with her van (the one on the deluxe album cover). She mentions “Sherane” in hopes that he's not out messing with her.
His father takes the phone, complaining about wanting Domino's pizza, at which point his mother tells him it's the voice mail and takes the phone back. They argue a little bit then Kendrick's father ends off with saying “Matter of fact, Cut my motherfucking oldies back on you killing my motherfucking vibe”
2. B***h, Don’t Kill My Vibe
In terms of vibe (No pun intended) this falls in place with the opening track, the Sounwave produced track presents a laid back feel that you wouldn't necessarily want to bump in the whip but definitely at the crib watching the TV on mute with some rolling papers and a red cup as apart of the recipe (I swear I'm not doing that on purpose).
As I mentioned previously the skits connect this album, at the end of this one you hear one of Kendrick's friends saying “K.Dot, get in the car n***a, c'mon we fittin to roll out, n***a I got a pack of blacks and a beat CD, get your freestyles ready.”
3. Backseat Freestyle
This is where the album takes a turn, Backseat Freestyle produced by Hit-Boy switches up the pace with a much harder beat and much more aggressive rhymes. It's a banger, not much more I say than that, definitely added it my Fav's playlist. It's one of the few tracks on the album that could be considered a club record.
No skit on this one.
4. The Art of Peer Pressure
At first this song starts off sounding like it's going to be another laid back record, but at the 1:07 mark it turns into a much more serious record. Story telling is something Nas mastered, and Kendrick appears to have been taking notes. He paints a very vivid picture of rolling around with his friends and results of what happens due to Peer Pressure.
This track resonated with me on a personal level, it embodies my teen years growing up in Jamaica (The country). I dug this track.
The track ends off with Kendrick Lamar and his homies talking about the day they had, they talk about getting active, but before that dropping off K.Dot (Kendrick Lamar) at his crib so he can go see Sherane.
5. Money Trees
This track was cool but nothing special in my opinion, you might think different though. It's in no way near being a filler but it just didn't move me in anyway and it's a little too long. The skit on this one dates back to the first track, his mom is still waiting for Kendrick to bring the car back.
Kendrick Lamar's mom continues to call him and leave him voice messages, she lets him know she's still waiting on the car and that his father is drunk and trying to get his freak on, so she wants out of the house.
6. Poetic Justice
What do I even have to say about this track it's already a classic? From the title to the Janet Jackson sample and the Drake feature, it's already a hit.
You should recall Kendrick Lamar was featured on Drake’s most recent album Take Care on one of the interludes, so now Drizzy returns the favor. Even though Drake and Kendrick are polar opposites, the synergy on this one is undeniable and it's another hit from the album.
The skit on this one ends off with Kendrick parked on Sherane's block and two dudes start pressing him, trying to figure out where he's from.
7. good kid
This is one of the more lyrically compounded tracks on the album, he goes off on this one and it can be considered one half of the title track.
8. m.A.A.d city
Obviously this would be the second half of the title track, it's more cracked up than good kid, it's actually 2 records in one. It's a banger.
The skit at the end of this one is a continuation of Poetic Justice's skit where the 2 dudes (Happens to be Sherane's cousins) were pressing Kendrick while he was parked waiting for Sharene. As it turns out they gave him a beat down.
His homies comfort him after the beat down, one of his friends says to him “they got you good my n***a? don't even trip just lay back a drink that”
9. Swimming Pools (Drank)
Not much to say about this one, you already know about this one, it's a hit record. When it first came out, people saw the T-Minus production credit, plus the name of the track and started thinking — oh boy he's about to go commercial.
That turned out to not be the case, though it's a commercial success it's actually a part of a bigger story, that is good kid, m.A.A.d city.
At the end of Swimming Pools is where things take a turn and start coming together, K.Dot and friends retaliate against Sherane's cousins by shooting at them and one of K.Dot's friend's brother gets killed in the exchange.
10. Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst
This is a commentary on the storytelling of rap. Kendrick takes on the perspective of two people he knows – one positive and one negative. Would love to hear some conversations about this track and who you think these two perspectives Kendrick is writing from.
At the end of this one, K.Dot's friend is getting ready avenge his brothers death, at this point a woman who by the sound of it is a senior calm them down and made them participate in a prayer.
Lets talk about this one.
This song denotes an incredibly important realization that Kendrick Lamar has felt. The song as a whole alludes to really important topics like the importance of loving yourself (and how this is a necessary component of having some of the powerful insight that Kendrick describes through out the album)
This track closes off the entire project, by bringing it right back to what it's all about, California. Kendrick Lamar is the new embodiment of the West Coast and he makes it clear that he's all about that and represents that. This banger was produced by Just Blaze, whom Kendrick actually met through Dr. Dre. According to him, this beat’s actually around three years old.
The album is pretty brilliant, I didn't realize how brilliant until I started writing this all out. It's so dope that a record like “Swimming Pools (Drank)” became a hit while actually being taken out of context, very much like how “Poetic Justice” and “Backseat Freestyle” were.
Once you hear it in it's entirety, those songs acquire more meaning.
I was very much impressed by this album, I give it 4.5/5.
The reason why it didn't give it a perfect score is because as clever as it was, you also have to consider enjoyability. The question is will I be playing this a year from now and banging these records individually and liking them just for being great sounding tracks.
Only time will tell.
That's it, thanks for reading.
What's your thoughts on the project?