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Old 02-15-2013, 07:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Good Kid, m.A.A.d City - Kendrick Lamar (first review)

I would have inserted an image here but I haven't made 15 posts yet, but here goes anyway. My first review!


Let me start by saying that this album has been hyped up – A LOT. It’s been getting tons of comparisons, mainly to Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I suppose I can see where these comparisons are coming from, in that both albums are considered to be groundbreaking in their disregard for modern hip hop song structure and consequently changing what is expected in a good hip hop album. Beyond that, there are little to no similarities between these two albums.

Kanye’s album was boisterous enough to throw you into a swagger-induced coma (not that that’s a bad thing, right?), and had a few moments of sentimentality that really shone through. “Blame Game” is one hell of a track, and is probably the song that most closely resembles Kendrick’s style on Good Kid, Maad City.

Okay, on to the good stuff! Good Kid, Maad City is most definitely a concept album, but it really plays out as more of a short film (as Kendrick so boldly stated on the album cover: “Good Kid, Maad City – A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar”). The main plot unravels over a lengthy 68 minute album (84 minutes with bonus material – which isn’t relevant to main plot but contains some great tracks) and follows Kendrick as he grows up in his home town of Compton, California. The content is biographical in nature and teaches us that in the mad city of Compton, even the good kids can go bad. As these events play out, Kendrick brings you into his head – and he is not remotely afraid to say exactly what was going through his mind at these times in his life.

Given that this album is meant to play out as a short film sans video, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is that this album really is about storytelling, which is reflected in Kendrick’s rapping style. Do not go into this album expecting brash, one-two punch taglines or mind-bending tongue-twisters. Though at times Kendrick does demonstrate his rapping prowess by spitting in double/triple time, that’s not the point with this album. The point really and truly is the story. The second thing to keep in mind here is that in every song there are voice clips – typically dialogues between Kendrick and his friends, his parents, etc. These are very important. They all relate directly to the storyline and are used to embellish the situations. And it’s for these reasons that this album is not meant for casual listening.

Now to quickly address the production. Kendrick was discovered by Dr. Dre, and so Dre being the wise investor did everything he could to make sure this album sounded good. There is a different producer that Dre hired for nearly every song, but all producers are top notch (Just Blaze, Pharrell Williams, Hit-Boy to name a few). A lot of the instrumentals actually feature really nice piano and strings, though sometimes maybe a bit too subtle. However, no real complaints here and the way the samples are integrated are really cool. Cool point: with the exception of Sherane and K-dot (Kendrick), all names brought up in conversations are bleeped out which adds to authenticity of the story and really draws you in.

As for the actual tracks, I don’t think there’s a bad track on this album. In Backseat Freestyle we find Kendrick in the backseat of his friend’s car rapping about how he hopes his “**** grows big as the Eiffel Tower” so he can “**** the world for 72 hours”, which lead us to the refrain “damn I got bitches, damn I got bitches”. And it’s all fun and games until we reach the next track The Art of Peer Pressure where Kendrick comes to realize he is a completely different person when with his friends – and it’s not a person he necessarily likes. His friends drag him into a world of drugs and crime, and throughout this album Kendrick begins to realize this life is not for him.

Sing About me I’m Dying of Thirst finds Kendrick at his most introspective, musing about the loss of family members, his own death, and accepting God. Clocking in at just over 12 minutes this track is perhaps the most powerful hip hop song I’ve ever heard, though this is likely in part due to its strategic placing on the album. This track serves as a turning point between Kendrick at his lowest, and his triumphant return in Compton.

There’s a reason this album has topped “best of” lists across mainstream, and independent charts alike. Kendrick’s storytelling and ability to involve you in his transformation from hoodrat to successful musician is unparalleled. We can only hope that now that Kendrick has shared his story, he’ll be able to continue to create art as stunning in the future.

Favourite tracks: Sing About me, I’m Dying of Thirst, M.A.A.D City, Bitch Don’t Kill my Vibe, Money Trees
Least favourite tracks: Good Kid.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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My favourites: The art of peer pressure, money trees, poetic justice.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My favourite is art of peer pressure. Just the beat reminds you of west coast dr.dre days.

He really can tell stories. A talent that alot of rappers today lack. I think Biggie mastered and now Kendrick. Ya I said it... I just compared Biggie to Kendrick. Rightly so
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My favourite is backseat freestyle and most definately poetic justic
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I love how you can turn on this album and you just know this guy is from California somewhere. I can hear some Ice Cube in there, some MC Eiht (not because he's featured), some Tupac, a little bit of everything. This guy has been listening to a lot of classic rap.

It feels like someone put the tape recorder on and had it running for a year or two, then they chose the best parts. Kendrick makes it seem so effortless, and it's a great rap album in my opinion. Tells the story of his life, in different parts.

and there's a lot of lyrical references to different songs and artists as well, and I like that.

I think aesoprocky got most of it right in his review. It was a good read.

My fav. songs are: B*tch, Dan't Kill My Vibe, Backseat Freestyle & Swimming Pools.

And I'm really glad he dropped Lady Gaga for Dan't Kill My Vibe. I have nothing against her, but I've heard the Gaga version and I think the album version is better. I can't post links yet, but if anybody wants to hear it, you'll find it through google.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think no one has ever done this concept as well as him.The concept is very typical and I like a lot but it was done so well.This **** is so cohesive and the lyrics are insane.This album is one of my all time favorites I cant even begin to imagine what his next album will sound like.Everything about this album was on point!!!!
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Old 04-17-2013, 03:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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excellent album!
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