Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city a short film by Kendrick Lamar
In an age where rappers claim to be “storytellers” but often fall short (way short) a young West Coast emcee steps to the forefront to show his peers how it’s done. After building hype (deserved hype) with a couple mixtapes Kendrick Lamar drops his debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, and continues to raise the bar with skill and originality in a scene full of trends, and rip off rappers. This was my first time hearing anything from Kendrick and needless to say I’m a little disappointed in myself for sleeping on him. This album is great!
Kendrick Lamar is a much needed breath of fresh air in a genre full of people following each other to stay relevant. But much like fellow young emcee Big K.R.I.T, Kendrick does things his own way and thats what separates him from the rest. He’s young, and you hear that in his lyrics and delivery. He’s West Coast, and you hear that in his story and style. But he’s also different, you hear that in almost everything. From the way KDot spits, to his creative vocal effects, to his storytelling, he’s leagues beyond any of his “peers” you’ll see on TV. Kendrick’s debut is a concept album that tells the story of a day in his life hanging with friends, hooking up with girls, drinking too much, getting fussed at by his parents, losing homies to gang violence, and how Hip Hop changed his world. His style is reminiscent of a young Nas - his voice and storytelling, Andre 3000 - his creativity in delivery and vocal effects/changes, or Lupe fiasco in the way he tells stories of The Hood without actually partaking in The Hood activities (in some cases). He does this with a humility and creativity sorely lacked in today’s mainstream music. He doesn’t tell you he’s a gangster but he tells you about seeing the gangsters. He’s not a hustler but he speaks on the hustlers around him. He’s not rich but he tells you how he aspires to change circumstances for his self and his loved ones. The artists who can do this well tend to be some of my favorites and Kendrick is definitely working along that path.
Something I really dig about this album is the fact that they’re are 11 different producers for 12 songs but the production maintains cohesiveness. You would think with that many names and styles behind the boards the music would be all over the place, but no. The production picks up and slows down in just the right places to follow the pace of the story. The mixing and mastering on the album is mega solid! The tracklist is put together well to give the story highlights and pitfalls in terms of energy and vibe. In terms of style the production sounds hella West Coast with a twist. The music is chill and laid back sometimes, and uptempo at others. There’s a couple beats that don’t really fit the usual West Coast sound in terms of tempo, but they somehow don’t sound out of place. No matter the tempo though, the West Coast storytelling mood never breaks.
There’s definitely lots of praise to be shelled out for this album. But for me, there’s also some negatives. The one song that’s geared more for the ladies features everyone favorite R&B rapper Drake, and in my opinion it’s one of the lackluster songs on the album. There’s also some minor lowpoints where Kendrick’s flow takes some terms for the cheesy whether it’s repeating certain lines over and over, or just some overly typical rap punchlines we may have heard before. But these instances are few and far between and nothing to gripe too much about. The album is otherwise a great starting point for what is sure to be a solid career. Kendrick will hopefully inspire other young emcees to get out of the bubblegum, trend following, money and bitches type of Rap we hear from almost everyone else. GKMC is a dope album and I can’t wait to hear more from this dude.
- Original delivery, good storytelling
- Diverse but cohesive production
- Humility and intelligence from a hood perspective
- A song with Drake on it
- Some cheesy/typical punch lines
- A verse from Dr. Dre that was OBVIOUSLY NOT written by Dre
Check this album out, whether you like independent/underground or mainstream/overground stuff this is good Hip Hop.