Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, Maad City

Deluxe album cover for good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar

It might have seemed like hip-hop was slowly being fused into other genres, more notably electronic and dance to create a new super genre: Electro-Rap, as some of the great rappers today have been blending their music with that style of music. For example, recent output from Ludacris and Kanye West – with varying degrees of results. Kendrick Lamar puts his focus strictly on rap by bringing back some of the traditional aspects of hip-hop.

good kid, m.A.A.d. city is an instant rap classic that makes the genre exciting again. What feels like years since there’s been a great rap record, Kendrick releases an album of songs that input some of the authenticity of 90s gangsta rap to the true vibes of a freestyle rapper who uses the art of rap to tell a story. This record is minimal with the music that backs up Kendrick’s raps, often times just a basic mid-tempo beat with heavy supporting bass but the lyrics and his delivery are more than enough to create a great track.

Underneath the songs, all with their own distinct chapter in the story that makes up this album, is a whole underworld of what makes Kendrick who he is as a person, each told in a single part. Between the songs are voice recordings of his parents that fit in with the songs and perhaps explain why the subject matter doesn’t centre toward violence and overtly sexualized tendencies but rather ones of passionate fantasies and desires of, for example, money and power. There’s a level of responsibility with this record that separates Kendrick from his peers, past and present, as he chooses to include advice from his parents that ultimately effect the intentions of the album. “Real is responsibility/Real is taking care of your mother****ing family.”

As a complete package, good kid, m.A.A.d. city works because it fits together with each song weaving in, leaving their respective mark and then exiting gracefully to make room for the next track. Individually, the songs stand strong on their own. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe has the makings of a signature song with potential to have its own impact on pop culture a la “that shit cray”. Poetic Justice wins because of its sample of Janet Jackson‘s mid-90s jam Anytime Anyplace, adding a layer of romantic seduction retro-style to a series of love letters and desires.

Kendrick Lamar has the album that will save rap music for 2013 and with good kid, m.A.A.d. city, he does it without having to venture outside of the box of the genre but instead takes the standard and remoulds it into something that sounds so fresh and original that it is enlightening. Five stars

1. Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter
2. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe
3. Backseat Freestyle
4. The Art Of Peer Pressure
5. Money Trees [featuring Jay Rock]
6. Poetic Justice [featuring Drake]
7. Good Kid
8. m.A.A.d City [featuring MC Eiht]
9. Swimming Pools (Drank)
10. Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst
11. Real [featuring Anna Wise]
12. Compton [featuring Dr. Dre]

Disc 2
1. The Recipe [featuring Dr. Dre]
2. Black Boy Fly
3. Now Or Never [featuring Mary J. Blige]

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