good kid, m.A.A.d city
Aftermath | Interscope.com
Right now I will tell you two things. Thing #1: It’s a blustery day, courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, as Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city gets a final listen, working up a final storm. Thing #2: Never ask a terrier to do a job, as one is sitting in my lap, preventing me from typing a goddamn thing.
Thankfully, Kendrick Lamar’s second studio album, released October 22, 2012, brings a little West Coast sunshine to an otherwise dreary day. Emerging from a sea of successful mixtapes and independently released works, Kendrick Lamar establishes himself as a mainstay in modern hip-hop with this collection.
First, I’m predisposed to like Kendrick Lamar because his parents are from Chicago. I know that there are many people who are dicks whose parents are from Chicago, though I choose to believe Kendrick Lamar is not one of them. Perhaps it is his role as a member of Black Hippy. Those dudes just seem cool.
I digress. On good kid, m.A.A.d city, we get a glimpse into a Compton coming of age. Take “Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter.” This jam features both a Nextel reference and the repeated utterance, “Where my motherfuckin’ dominoes at?” I fail to see how one could go wrong here. Similarly, Kendrick Lamar captures how we as humans are consumed by those with whom we first experience attraction. That is some formative shit.
Moving on to “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” it would be impossible not to like this song. The song conquers both the larger issue of sin (I’m a sinner, who’s probably going to sin again), as well as nagging. I challenge you to listen to this and not favor the protagonist.
Next we encounter “Backstreet Freestyle,” a braggadocious ditty that will change the way you think about life. This man would prefer his member reach the proportions of the Eiffel Tower, a landmark with which you are all familiar. I admire his ambition.
Beginning with that, we move into a few songs with super strong Reggaeton influences. “The Art of Peer Pressure” continues this trend, with bongos supporting this shift.
Now we arrive at a difficult question. Kendrick Lamar is surely a fantastic artist, however, with “Money Trees,” we get glimpses of a self-indulgent streak that will haunt the rest of this album. This song is too long, and too mediocre.
All is certainly not lost, though. On “Poetic Justice,” we begin to feel the crush of moving vocals. By “m.A.A.d city” featuring MC Eiht, the collaboration reaches a feverish pitch, sounding nearly insane with the contributions of the Compton veteran.
It is hard not to feel a smidgen of Bone Thugs love on “Swimming Pools (Drank) *Extended Version,” which is decidedly a good thing. Beyond that, look for the five bonus songs to seal the deal.
At the end of the day, this reviewer really loves good kid, m.A.A.d city. It brings me back to the good old West Coast rap that sucked me in, in the first place. good kid, m.A.A.d city’s worst crime is a few pacing issues; the album is front loaded with winners. Otherwise, I’d say soak it up, as Kendrick Lamar is one of the few geniuses of our day.