Album Review: good kid, mAAd city by Kendrick Lamar

Posted on October 30, 2012 in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture
By Sam Hill

Sam Hill | The Free Press

With the West Coast on his back and the open support of rap veterans, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar has dropped his major-label debut album, good kid, mAAd city, and is instantly being hailed across the industry as “the new king of West Coast rap.”
The album is subtitled “A short film by Kendrick Lamar”, a title that is completely warranted. Lamar captures the entirety of his adolescent years roaming the streets of Compton through effective, reminiscent storytelling, reviving the same environment that produced prominent rap group N.W.A.

With his toolbox of dazzling technical skills and the candor he approaches his music with, Lamar delivers one of the most original acts the rap game has seen in a long time. He strays from the braggadocio lyrical content that floods the industry. He doesn’t have the thug-attitude of Game or Lil Wayne, and he creates something entirely different from the critical introspection of Drake. Lamar falls somewhere in between. His style is unique and consistent, a juggling act of hip hop tactics. A talented wordsmith and powerful MC, he consistently executes on a higher level than a majority of rappers, both creatively and in terms of general skill.

“Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” promises to be a classic, a perfect personal anthem balancing a sense of complete relaxation and party-lyrics with the concept of striving for excellence as an individual. Lamar drops little lines of wisdom throughout his verses like, “even a small lighter can burn a bridge.” For a bonding experience, be sure to blast “The Art of Peer Pressure” with the crew, as Lamar takes listeners through a night of “with the homies.” The low-key, atmospheric beat will draws listeners into the story and put them right in the passenger seat of his white Toyota on a late night out. No matter what you’re actually driving, you’ll be feeling pretty fly. “Poetic Justice” is another gem, a by-the-books bedroom jam, sure to set the mood for a heavy evening. Drake jumps on the track to help out, so you know it’s one for the ladies.

This is the closest someone will ever get to a hip-hop memoir. The album is well-crafted and rises and falls in all the right spots, creating a full-length experience rather than a collection of unrelated singles. Lamar has proven himself to be an adept storyteller and rap superstar deserving of respect. He claims that “they waiting on Kendrick like the first and the 15th,” and he’s right. good kid, mAAd city is what the game has been missing. We can only hope that other artists take notice and begin innovating as well. Chances are, Kendrick Lamar is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper right now. Don’t miss out on this future classic.