By now I'm sure you have heard of Compton, California artist Kendrick Lamar in some context. I can confidently say with his major label debut good kid m.A.A.d city now out and being listened to throughout the world that Kendrick will be a household name very soon.
Kendrick Lamar first started getting notice back in 2010 with the release of his highly popular O.D. (Overly Dedicated) mixtape. Some of you may recall the Kendrick Lamar EP or the various projects he put out under the moniker K Dot. I find it very interesting that only 3 years ago Kendrick released a mixtape entitled C4 that was less or more a tribute to Lil Wayne. The progression we have seen since then is simply amazing. The exponential growth we have witnessed from O.D. to last year's Section.80 (which I personally thought was a great project) to this years good kid m.A.A.d city has been unbelievable. No matter how or when you may have came across his music, I'm sure most of us can agree that you are glad you did.
Now to discuss Kendrick Lamar's major label debut good kid m.A.A.d city. The project boasts features and production from: Jay Rock, Mary J Blige, Drake, Dr. Dre, Tha Bizness, Sounwave, DJ Dahi, THC, T-Minus, Just Blaze, Terrace Martin, Pharrell, Hit-Boy, Scoop DeVille and more. The first thing that stuck out to me when listening was how well the production worked and also how well Ali did on the mixing. From track to track, every song's production stands strong on its own yet works together to create a project that flows from start to finish. From Sounwave's incredibly smooth (the amount of sounds used in this track is amazing) "Bitch, Dont Kill My Vibe" to Hit-Boy's banger "Backseat Freestyle" to Denmark duo Tabu's exceptional work on "The Art of Peer Pressure." One track I wanted to individually highlight was Sounwave and THC's work on "m.A.A.d city" which features MC Eiht. The first half of the song is a BANGER that is hard not to get hyped to, about halfway through the beat transitions into essentially a different song that has a completely different feel. The second half of the song feels like a classic West Coast song, something that would be found on Dr. Dre's The Chronic, this is where MC Eiht gets his chance to show his skills. For those who solely choose to listen to a song based off the production, this album will not disappoint, for those who look beyond just the beats the production will be the icing on the cake!
Another aspect of the album that really stood out was Kendrick's wordplay and how there was a distinguishable story line throughout. good kid m.A.A.d city begins with Lamar meeting Sherane at a house party, she seems to be a fairly important part of the story. After Kendrick states "Bitch, Dont Kill My Vibe" we are hit over the head with the Hit-Boy produced "Backseat Freestyle" which makes you think of hanging out with your friends and clowning around. This seems to be more of a fun type of track where he is able to let loose and talk reckless. We are then thrust back into the more serious side of the story that is "The Art Of Peer Pressure" an aspect of life that most of us probably have encountered at least once when growing up. Next is "Money Trees" that continues to paint a picture of what it was like growing up for Kendrick and also reiterates a common theme throughout, decision making and how you may be influenced to choose to sin. Fellow TDE artist Jay Rock provides a very well written verse that perfectly flows with the song. This may be very surprising if your not familiar with him, hes got some serious skills and shows why TDE is in the discussion of who's the most skilled label out. The phone calls after many of the songs reiterate how Kendrick is out making decisions that he may later regret all while his mother needs her car back. Poetic Justice serves as the lady killer track of the album. Drake provides one of his many cookie cut verses for the ladies, your girl and all her friends will love this one.
Having the tracks "good kid" and "m.A.A.d city" was obviously deliberate and an interesting way to begin the 2nd half of the album. One of my favorite's off the album "m.A.A.d city" is very well put together, it is essentially two different songs put into one. In the first half of the song Lamar decides to take us "on a trip down memory lane" with a violent story from back when he was 9. The 2nd half of the song serves as MC Ehit's time to shine, and he does not disappoint. Each track serves as an important aspect to the overall story which seems to chronicle Kendrick's life growing up in Compton. A life full of fun, love, lust, pain, sin, friendship, loyalty, violence, crime, and much more. The album appropriately culminates with a track entitled "Compton" where it appears Kendrick has triumphed over the difficulties found throughout his life (and the album) and claims "this is King Kendrick Lamar. King Kendrick and I meant it."
If I were to give this album a rating I would say 9.5 out of 10. Based off the production, mixing, wordplay, story and style, this album will go down as a classic and is damn near perfect! This can easily be enjoyed by not only those in the hip hop community but fans of all genres or music.
You can interpret the album for yourself and come up with your own opinion by purchasing it, yah bish!