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


4.5
superb

Review

by Trevor Spiers USER (2 Reviews)
October 18th, 2012 | 404 replies | 29,561 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Compton's human sacrifice.

7 of 13 thought this review was well written

"It’s really just a self-portrait. I feel I need to make this this album in order to move on with my life, and I had negative vibes and demons haunting me. It’s that real. I had to come from somewhere, I had to come from a place " it could have been negative, it could have been positive but for the majority of it, it was negative place. I needed to vent and put this message out in order for me to grow as a person. I’m glad I did, because it was a venting process, you know, to tell these stories I never told." - Kendrick Lamar when interviewed about the concept of good kid, m.A.A.d city.

Though the album may come with 2 different covers, either one from the very beginning signifies an important aspect of Kendrick's life and the concept of the album itself. In the standard edition, you are able to see Kendrick as a child sitting with his family, their eyes censored. Now whether this was for personal reasoning or not, it helps emit an essence of innocence from Kendrick while he was a child which is an ongoing theme within his music itself; witnessing the dangers and impurities of the city through innocent eyes. In the deluxe version, we are greeted with the image of a van, questionably belonging to his mother or father. This van holds a dominant hold as the running theme for the album as most of the skits are heard either involving the van or with it in the background. When interviewed himself, Kendrick explained the concept of the van came from his mother and her approval for his attempts at recording in studios. This may be what he explained but within the album the van seems to contain an essence of sorrow gained from it's avid misadventures notable since the beginning of our journey into Kendrick's life.

We start off with Sherane, Kendrick's love interest in his apparent 17-year old, hormone-riddled life. After meeting this promiscuous woman and their relations turning into something more we venture into a specific day where things take a turn for the worse as what supposed to be a simple booty call of sorts manages to be sabotaged by two men in black, probably her brothers who had other things in mind for Kendrick. This helps turn the entire album's journey into a modern semi-autobiographical sequel to Boyz N The Hood as Kendrick returns to his homies bruised and broken. This entire story is elaborated upon throughout the album, reaching it's climax by the time we reach the extended version of Swimming Pools. This also notably reaches a full circle once our young gangsters find their relief in a prayer passed down from their elder, the same prayer heard in the intro of the album, almost as if it was a cycle of finding what's really "real" within their lives.

I'll give my general overview of this album. Kendrick's main objective during this entire album was to expose his own life experiences while still representing the mischievousness of the youth of Compton and explain why they could possibly grow up into the stereotypical lifestyle of drug dealing, gang-banging, and self-survival within the Compton city limits, seeming a bit ironic with a feature from the seasoned veteran MC Eiht and his lifestyle when within the concrete jungle of California. His often referenced lyricism holds itself steady and up to expectations, only restrictive when in terms of hooks that can be seen as somewhat repetitive and lacking. The features are few and far between, helping not to dilute the album into some sort of DJ Khaled collab and helps shine the spotlight on respectable artists such as Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, MC Eiht & Jay Rock, who does represent another fourth of the Black Hippy group. The production itself has times where it brings the album's message across as though we were not able to be blessed by a specific Dr. Dre beat, we are brought back to g-funk's now evolved roots with songs such as m.A.A.d. city, which even brought in the traditional high-pitched synthesizer towards it's end, Compton also with the voice box able to send shock waves of nostalgia from the days of Zapp & Roger though I do wish this influence was spread more throughout the album instead of one or two tracks. This doesn't serve to depreciate the album although, as the sudden shift within certain tracks serve to bring completely different scenery, all recognizable with an important part in Kendrick's life. Also with noticing Sherane being another running theme within the album, it seems as if Poetic Justice would've been better off as an independent single and replaced by the hard-hitting Cartoons & Cereal track which would seem more suitable in the album's context.

This album mainly comes as a build-up from the inner troubles of a dangerous society into a lesson about spiritual growth. I think the primary example of this can seen in Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst, which provides a narrative from different character's viewpoints on Kendrick and how he portrays them within his music, even as Keisha's sister before evaluating his own career and aspirations to help his people. This highlight of the album may be 12 minutes, but every last second is worth it as Kendrick manages to shed the skin of a musician and establish himself as a human being, destroying any particular ego he may have and stride for something greater for humanity's sake while helping those that may have lost their way.

"And you're right, your brother was a brother to me
And your sister's situation was the one that put me
In a direction to speak of something that's realer than the TV screen
By any means, wasn't trying to offend or come between
Her personal life, I was like "it need to be told
Cursing the life of 20 generations after her" so
Exactly would have happened if I hadn't continued rappin'
Or steady being distracted by money drugs and four
Fives, I count lives all on these songs
Look at the weak and cry, pray one day you'll be strong
Fighting for your rights, even when you're wrong
And hope that at least one of you sing about me when I'm gone
Now am I worth it?
Did I put enough work in?"

After such an attempt, I can speak for myself and say yes. There are very few times in hip-hop where an artist can portray themselves as a spiritually-struggling human being, represent an entire city, create some catchy, but not overbearing singles, and still succeed while turning hip-hop temporarily back into a form of stylized poetry. Whether it's 5 years or 5 centuries, this form of a personal soundtrack will be remembered for generation of people, despite its very minor flaws, to set a standard in today's consciousness and conscious gangsta hip-hop. Amongst a city known for records in gang violence, police abuse, and drug tolerance, a unique hidden gem of some polluted innocence and social wisdom shines through.

Recommended Tracks:
Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe
The Art of Peer Pressure
good kid
m.A.A.d. city
Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst


user ratings (1427)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • IsomerDuck (5)
    An album that exudes quality and confidence, but remains humble and thought provoking....

    fogza (3)
    ...

    kvltwalter (3)
    "Will you please sing about me?" No. But your album's still alright...

    Hillary Clittounge (5)
    MLK's dream... mission accomplished...

  • hankdee27 (4.5)
    His dick may be bigger than the Eiffel Tower, but good kid, m.A.A.d city takes a stance in...

    ivyleague7 (5)
    The best album in the industry presented by an amazing artist from the west coast. This al...

    derho (5)
    Why haven't you listened to this yet?...

    GaryJohnson2012 (3)
    A shallow album besides "Good Kid" and "Dying of Thrist"...

  • Guzzo CONTRIBUTOR (5)
    This isn't Martin's dream, its Kendrick's; the dream the Hip-Hop industry needs....


Comments:Add a Comment 
UnkleUrple
October 18th 2012



129 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

2nd review. BRING ON THE NEGS.
Damn son that was quick.

Buzzkillr
October 18th 2012



1510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dude, it only just leaked 24 hours ago

UnkleUrple
October 18th 2012



129 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I know, I was looking for the album daily since last week, on my 10th listen at least.
Edit: Don't worry, I spent like 4 hours piecing this together carefully. If it's crap, it's crap.

bbdmittenz
October 18th 2012



213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I mean yeah, it's that good.

Buzzkillr
October 18th 2012



1510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haven't really read your review yet, but I have noticed that more than half of it talks about Kendrick and not the
album, which I guess is actually sorta accurate considering how personal this album is.

I'm not the one who negged btw

chambered49
October 18th 2012



1727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cant wait to hear this

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
October 18th 2012



8927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rush review

Digging: Phantogram - Voices

UnkleUrple
October 18th 2012



129 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Can't debate that.

daIceman
October 18th 2012



381 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Below average, I don't know why so many people like it ... a lot
weird because it sounds really corny, I don't like rap on this but these beats are even worse which
is devastating...

If I compared this with I think vastly underated JJ DOOM LP this sounds to me like half R&B half pop
rap LP with "club bangers" like Swimming pools...

When I heard "Compton" for a first time and that beat sounds to me like beat from jay-z mixtape with
bad hook everything was explained when I heard "JUUUUST BLAZE" and after that autotuned voice like
from Eifell 65 LP which I've dug when I was 9 years old

Call me hater I dont care but that sucks


UnkleUrple
October 18th 2012



129 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Seen you before, gave Black Up a 5 & called it a classic for years to come. It seems your soft spots
are innovation within production & not necessarily focused & personal lyricism. Might want to try out
Dalek.

daIceman
October 18th 2012



381 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Dalek is sick I found him when I was looking for something similar to El-P style

UnkleUrple
October 18th 2012



129 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

There ya go then. I'll admit this doesn't bring anything groundbreaking in terms of say, El-P production, but I tried more to examine how he conveyed a sense of gangster angst in a intelligent way.

Sleaper
October 18th 2012



3133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

DLing it now.
Fuck im keen if it really is as good as what you say it is.

how does it compare to section 80?

Digging: SpaceGhostPurrp - B.M.W. 2: Intoxxxicated

J0ckstrapsFTW
October 18th 2012



3577 Comments


Fuck ya downloading this now

Digging: Animals As Leaders - The Joy of Motion

UnkleUrple
October 18th 2012



129 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

In my opinion it edges Section.80 out, maybe not on the first listen but once you get into the groove of it it's really a potential AOTY.
Something I noticed is that Jay Rock's verse sounded like Schoolboy Q could've written the exact same shit but it was still decent nonetheless.

UnkleUrple
October 18th 2012



129 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Agh, I should've mentioned that the beat does have a tendency to automatically transition into a completely different side in 3 of the tracks.

Sleaper
October 18th 2012



3133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the review is a bit long and meaningless in some areas, but from the "I'll give my general overview of this album" to the end, its pretty good.

have a pos my fraand.

really liking bitch dant kill my vibe atm

UnkleUrple
October 18th 2012



129 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I can't stop listening to m.A.A.d city
Schoolboy Q is just yelling on the bridge & for some reason I can't stop thinking that it's one of the best fucking hooks in the album.
Then it transitions to MC Eiht sounding like he came right out of San Andreas? Come on now.

Funeralopolis
October 18th 2012



10420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Loved his debut look forward to hearing this.

Digging: CunninLynguists - Oneirology

Sleaper
October 18th 2012



3133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

almost finished listening.
Can see this being in 4-4.5 range,
much better than section 80



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