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By Kendrick Lamar
While downloading this album from iTunes with excitement, all I could hear in my head was “Hi-Hi-Hi-Hii Power!” — the sound effect scratch that Kendrick’s DJ makes during one of his live shows. To say this album is highly anticipated is doing it a disservice. When Kendrick dropped Section.80 a year and a summer ago, he restored faith into jaded hip-hop fans. Kendrick introduced his new sound to a wide audience. He didn’t have any famous features or co-signs; he just dropped a classic and sonically pleasing project. If you were expecting something more mainstream on good kid, m.a.a.d. city, then you will be sadly disappointed. Not only is this project as groundbreaking as Section.80, but Kendrick really utilizes one of Hip-Hop’s prized components: storytelling.
With a rolodex as big as his potential, Kendrick kept the features to a minimum for his debut. Jay Rock, Drake (because how could you not), MC Eiht, Dr. Dre, and Mary J. Blige (deluxe edition) are the only features on this album. The production, on the other hand, was varied but still created a cohesive album. Kendrick has production from Pharrell, Tha Bizness, Like, Just Blaze, Terrace Martin, T-Minus, and Hit-Boy to name a few. I was very surprised that Dr. Dre didn’t have more production on this album. I’m sure they have some classics sitting in the Detox vault somewhere.
Kendrick has something for everybody on this album. A good portion of the album consists of Kendrick explaining in detail situations that are common of youth across hoods across America. Everybody that listens to this album can identify with something from their childhood, whether it’s acting different because you’re around your boys or leaving the crew early so you can meet up with a girl. These are displayed greatly on tracks like “Art of Peer Pressure” and “Sherane”. Not forsaking craftsmanship, Kendrick has made the longest album I’ve heard in years. Only three songs are shorter than five minutes. Also, Kendrick keeps listeners attentive by not limiting songs to one sound. Many songs start off with one beat and by the end of the song have switched to something completely different but it’s done seamlessly on songs like “Sing about Me, I’m Dying of Thirst.” He also can flat out rap and he shows that on “Backseat freestyle.” As versatile and talented, Kendrick is a crowd pleaser that focuses on making music and not just hits.
good kid, m.a.a.d. city really changes the expectation of hip-hop albums going forward. Hopefully the sales match the quality and importance this album represents to the culture. Kendrick has crafted an innovative and different album and represents what everybody says they want to hear in popular Hip-Hop music. This album will be the background music to studying, gatherings, pre-games, and sessions worldwide for a while. Enjoy and support “King Kendrick.”
Top 5: “The Art of Peer Pressure”, “Money Trees”, “Good Kid”, “Swimming Pools [Extended Version]“, “Sing About Me/ I’m Dying of Thirst”
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