good kid m.A.A.d city
(Aftermath/Interscope/Top Dawg Ent.)
The west coast has always been somewhat of a double edged sword to me. Either you have alternative influential acts such as The Pharcyde, Souls of Mischief and Del The Funky Homosapien or the gangsterish glorified braggadocio of Death Row Records and their affiliates. My casing point being nothing has had a significant impact on the scene since the reminiscent romanticised ‘golden era’ of the 90′s, until now.
Compton emcee Kendrick Lamar has rapped his way up through the mixtape underground, released somewhat of a cult classic last year in Section.80 to finally presenting a solid major label debut in good kid, m.A.A.d city issued by Aftermath Music/Interscope Records. Rumours spread like wildfire when fellow Compton alumni Dr. Dre signed Kendrick, we were not totally sure what to expect then earlier this year we got a certified taste (pun intended). Scoop DeVille produced “The Recipe” dropped to a fan fare (I even heard it being blasted from the tinted windows of a Range Rover when I spent a weekend in Paris at the start of the summer). Kendrick not only wrote his own verse but Dre’s as well proving yet again that his penmanship is at an all time high, a track of the year nomination will be welcomed with open arms I’m sure.
good kid, m.A.A.d city was surrounded with speculation of a Lady Gaga feature spot which penultimately did not come to fruition. Albeit Drake has managed to sneak his way onto this LP through the track “Poetic Justice” (fitting title as Drake provides none) to adequately take on the position as the popular feature spot. With this being said, all featured artists on the album are expected and fit their rolls almost seamlessly with songstress Anna Wise of Sonnymoon, fellow Black Hippy member Jay Rock and Compton greats MC Eiht & Dr. Dre.
The production on good kid, m.A.A.d city has took a slight departure at times to what Kendrick’s used to with Just Blaze, Scoop DeVille, T-Minus & Pharrell Williams providing beats for his overwhelming lyrical dexterity. Not dismissing previous collaborator Sounwave as he holds his own most evident on old school meets new school “m.A.A.d city” accompanied by MC Eiht, and what a collaboration it is.
“m.A.A.d city” is set off with Kendrick “If Pirus and Crips all got along/they’d probably gun me down by the end of this song…” when he begins to take us on a trip through the rules of the street. Midway through this cut with barely a mutter from MC Eiht, the beat suddenly takes on the form of an early 90′s west coast banger with Eiht delivering an iconic “Wake yo’ punk ass up/It ain’t nuttin’ but a Compton thing…” and serving us with a verse all too fitting to the situation. Both artists come together in perfect harmony throughout this gangster’s fairytale. Kendrick cleverly finishes a verse with “Kendrick a.k.a Compton’s human sacrifice.” Compton’s saviour? I think so.
With the pros far, I repeat, far outwaying the cons on this LP, good kid, m.A.A.d city stands as an impressive document for a tremendously talented individual with a promising career and legacy to look forward to. Its best moment’s (“The Art of Peer Pressure”, “Money Trees” Feat. Jay Rock, “Swimming Pools (Drank)” & “m.A.A.d city” Feat. MC Eiht) without any elaboration are dope as fuck. This LP is simply a must have of 2012 for any Hip-Hop head or fan of music alike.