Album Review: Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.a.a.d city

Kendrick Lamar has been on the hip-hop scene since 2003 and after the 2011 underground treasure known as Section .80 hit Itunes for a digital only release. the Compton MC has been riding a wave of momentum that has carried him to the ears from the ghetto all the way to the suburbs. After signing with rap legend Dr. Dre in early 2012, Kendrick and his camp have been moving in a positive direction making great music and endorsing  their Top Dawg Entertainment imprint. So after all the success of Section .80 and the constant talk of how Kendrick is 2pac reincarnated, does GKMC live up to the hype? Find out below.

Good Kid, M.a.a.d City is a concept album about the trials and tribulations Kendrick Lamar went through as a teenager growing up in Compton, California. A city with a reputation of gang violence and people who will do anything to get respect on the streets. Kendrick details everything from why he doesn’t smoke weed to why he isn’t dependent on alcohol. The main story revolves around this girl Sherane though. She sets up Kendrick (whom was referred to as K. Dot back then) to get robbed. At the end of every song, Kendrick puts a vocal excerpt that compliments the song and explains the story that is Good Kid, M.a.a.d City which in my opinion was genius. You become immersed in the city of Compton to the point you feel you know the environment and the people in GKMC. The quality, the realism and the passion of this record shines bright. My only gripe with GKMC is that sometimes Kendrick refers to himself in the now rather than back then. Very small flaw and it shouldn’t affect the listening experience.

Kendrick strayed away from a lot of his Section .80 producers but not only does the beat selection stay true to the epic story but you feel a sense of improvement from the Section .80 beats. With producers like Just Blaze, Pharrell, Hit-Boy, Sounwave and Scoop Deville you can’t go wrong. As far as rhyming goes, K .Dot is at the top of his game. His metaphors for life and the way he expresses his mind are out of this world. Kendrick’s flow is unparalleled on certain tracks like Backseat Freestyle and M.a.a.d City. Honestly, there is no west coast MC out right now that has the precision and technical ability that Kendrick has.  As far as features go, Jay Rock, Drake, MC Eiht and Dr. Dre lend some stellar vocal assistants. However, Jay Rock (Kendrick’s fellow label-mate) had the standout verse on the song Money Trees where he just goes IN about the Nickerson Garden Projects and the hard life everybody raised in ghettos experiences. Kudos to him.

Standout tracks are…

Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe

Swimming Pools

Poetic Justice

Money Trees

Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst

Overall GKMC is just a great album that i feel will be a classic in 10 years time. Kendrick’s first solo effort is absolutely stunning from the first second you pop in the CD. This is a must buy for all Rap fans and even if you’ve lost hope on Rap and are looking for a spark to get you back into it, this is the album. I’m feeling a strong 9 on this. I look forward to hearing more from Kendrick Lamar and the TDE camp. Listen to it and let me know your thoughts!

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