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

good kid, m.A.A.d. city is the debut studio album of American TDE, Aftermath/Interscope rapper, Kendrick Lamar. This album was a complete masterpiece in my eyes. Starting off with the 1st cover of the album (top). The cover shows a young Kendrick Lamar held by one of his uncles who is also throwing up a gang sign, with his father and another uncle. The adults have there eyes blocked out while Kendrick’s are wide open to his environment. This cover basically shows the concept of the album. An innocent child exposed to an harsh environment. The second cover(bottom) shows a van parked up somewhere, most likely Compton. This is a symbol of the story being told. Each track Kendrick had great production. I have always enjoyed production by Sounwave, THC, and Just Blaze, but I think they did exceptionally well on the Album. The overall production was great, all producers did a great job. The tracks had perfect transitions. Frombeginning to end the vibe of the had me zoned out. I couldn’t skip any tracks, I couldn’t even put the album on shuffle. I found this album just outstanding from tracks to cover. Glad I bought it, especially in this day and age, just to show how much I respect this man.

The Contrast. good kid, m.A.A.d. city and Section.80(debut independent album)are two very different albums. I found the latter to be what Kendrick Lamar stood for. It introduced the HiiiPower movement which encourages the advancement and empowerment through gaining knowledge and learning from one’s own experiences. However, good kid, m.A.A.d. city showed exactly who Kendrick was. I found this common among TDE artists they just seemed to show up. Kendrick’s group, Black Hippy(Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q) seemed just to pop out of nowhere. good kid, m.A.A.d. city is basically the experiences that made the man that gave us Section.80, his mindset.

The Breakdown (the skit Story is in italics):

  1. Sherane aka Master Splinter’s Daughter starts off with a simple prayer of forgiveness. The track is about Kendrick meeting this girl named Sherane at a party. The two connect well and get to know each other a lot more over the summer. He talks about hoping she becomes his main girl in the future. He was aware she had a gang-banging cousin but she was worth it. Love or lust it didn’t matter they would end up having sex. They arrange for him to come over to her house but as he approaches her he also sees two guys in black hoodies and he freezes as his phone rings. It goes to his voicemail and it’s his parents trying to get to him. This actually left me speechless.
  2. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe starts off with Kendrick asking for forgiveness as a sinner. Becoming famous, Kendrick would sometimes like to just be alone and doesn’t want people to kill his mood. All he really needs is his music and drink. He has a lot on his plate and just wants time to be free from all of that. It ends with one of his boys coming through to maybe do a rap session with him, Basically a cool track. I just wanted to sit back and relax. Kendrick prtety much summed up a feeling I’m sure many of us get. I interpreted this track to serve as Kendrick chilling before the Sherane ordeal in the story.
  3. Backseat (Freestyle). I found Kendrick amazing for this. The track itself is a part of the story. The last thing we know Kendrick is doing in Track 2 is headin out with his boys to rap/freestyle. The are in a car, Kendrick is mostlikely in the Backseat. This being Kendrick when  he was younger he raps the way he probably did back then. I don’t know how many of you heard Kendrick’s TDE debut mxtape, Training Day, but he was obviously a little bit less mature. So Backseat is Kendrick rapping in the backseat of a car.
  4. The Art of Peer Pressure. One of the tracks a lot of us can relate to. Kendrick learns in one of the worst possible ways, the dangers of Peer Pressure. Kendrick talks about abandoning his morals when he is with his friends. He smokes, drinks, gets into fights, and other things because he feels he is pressured by his friends. He talks about jumping some guy for God knows why, but who gave a fuck he, he was faded. He almost got caught by the police but his homies got lucky. The track ends with one of his friends talking about how Kendrick took a hit (smoked) and was really messed up. Turns out it was laced. Kendrick said in an interview that a reason he doesn’t smoke weed was one of the 1st times he did it, he had smoked Angel dust. “Imagine, your first blunt had you foaming at the mouth,” is a line in m.A.A.d. city. A great story by Kendrick displaying his great wordplay.
  5. Money Trees (feat. Jay Rock) is a track about a few thing that have happened recently. He mentions a home invasion in which him and his boys rob a house he knew would be empty. He mentions having sex with Sherane, jumping some kids that look like they have money, and the freestyling in a car (Backseat). This skit at the end is Kendrick’s mother. A little more concerned about him and asking for her car back.
  6. Poetic Justice (feat. Drake). Lamar gets back home from hanging with his boys and heads out again to go meet with Sherane. Kendrick talks about his relationship with Sherane. The two haven’t met eye to eye lately and she been avoiding him. I think Drake was a fine addition. If there s anything Drake is good at, it’s lyrics about a girl. The skit is Kendrick being confronted by two niggas trying to start trouble since he is in their area. Kendrick tries to avoid it but it doesn’t play out that way.
  7. good kid. Kendrick expresses his feelings about being jumped and negatives of living in such a gang influenced environment. And in case you never heard the line “Trust me these niggas rushed me for something my cousin probably did, guilty by association story of my life nigga” from P&P that’s basically what the other half of this track is about. Police associate K.Dot as another gangbanger and he hates being in such a violent community. 
  8. m.A.A.d. city (feat. MC Eiht) is a series of stories told by Kendrick displaying just how crazy mad his city can get. From witnessing someone get his brains blown out to his first blunt that he hit, which was laced with cocaine and is a diresct reference to the title of the track, m.A.A.d.-my Angels on Angel Dust. I felt Kendrick on this track. He talks about why he lost the job he got that he mentions in the song Outrageous and his last verse is just giving advice to those in similar situations. This skit is just Kendrick and his homies meeting up after getting beat up and drink alcohol.
  9. Swimming Pools (Drank) (extended version) going off the last skit, Kendrick raps about how the people in his community find comfort in alcohol and being a victim to peer pressure. This skit was the climax of the tape. A lot of people may complain how mainstream it sounds but the only thing mainstream about this track is the hook. Kendrick’s verses about allowing himself to be pressured to drink. KDot’s homies plot their vengence, roll out planning to scare the opposition by busting off a few shots. The plan doesn’t go well and one of Kendricks friends gets shot and dies in his hands.
  10. Sing About Me/ Dying of Thirst Sing About Me is a commentary on the storytelling of rap. Kendrick takes on the perspective of two people he knows one positive and one negative. Then, he offers his own perspective: he tells stories not to offend or please anyone else, but to be realistic; and he hopes that his story will continue to be told, too. Storytelling can bring an eternity to stories that counteracts the ephemeral nature of life (RapGenius for lack of a better explanation) The skit at the end of Sing About Me is an angry group, ready to take vengence when a furious KDot explodes with anger towards everything aound him./ Dying of Thirst. His need to be baptized tired of a violent life. Surrounded by sin as well as indulging himself in it. He’s tired of it all. The skit is Kendrick and his friends praying. This is a symbol of KDot’s transition to Kendrick Lamar.
  11. Real (feat. Anna Wise). This new Kendrick is a more free person. He’s beginning to love himself more. He doesn’t need to sin to be happy. The most memorable line was “But what’s love got to do with it when you don’t even love yourself.” The skit is his dad putting his mom back on voicemail from the skit on track 1. His mom gives him advice about learning from his experiences and share it with his people, because that’s the best way to give back to the community.
  12. Compton (feat. Dr. Dre) Track about the city he grew up in. Even though he’s been through so much, he still loves the place he was brought up and has pride in the Westside. This skit goes back to the beginning of everything with Kendrick telling his mom he was borrowing her car for 15 minutes.
  13. The Recipe (feat. Dr. Dre) is another Westside reppin track. Lamar is extremely catchy onthe track. A song sure to fire up any crowd at a concert. Women, Weed, and Weather! 
  14. Black Boy Fly. Kendrick Lamar expresses his views on seeing people from his hood rise and make it out. Among the few he mentions Aaron Afflalo (Professional NBA basketball team) and Jayceon Taylor (Game the rapper). Although he says he was jealous you can tell by the tone of the song it was more of an admiration. His final verse is his acknowledgment of himself that he has made it.
  15. Now or Never (Mary J. Blige) carrying on from the last track Kendrick raps about living his dream t be a rapper. Mary J. Blige adds a more soulful element to the track with her amazing vocals. 
  16. Collect Calls. Kendrick takes on the perspective of his friend, Dante, of a who is imprisoned trying to get in touch with his mother. She has blocked him on the phone and cut off all connections with him. He’s realized what he has done which may have resulted in the killing of him and Kendrick’s friend, Marcus. Now as Dante’s mother, he explains her actions as tough love and Dante needs to find the Lord and turn his life around. She rather see him locked up than dead. The track ends with his mother saying she loves him and will be testifying against him.
  17. Swimming Pools (Drank)
This entire album was a work of beauty. Kendrick Lamar is an amazing artist. It was as if I was actually watching this man’s album as a movie. From a chilling beginning to a chaotic climax to a grim ending with Collect Calls, I think good kid, m.A.A.d. city will go down as one of the greatest tracks in history.
Favorite Tracks:
  • m.A.A.d. city (feat. MC Eiht)
  • Black Boy Fly
  • Real (feat. Anna Wise)
  • Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe
  • The Art of Peer Pressure
  • good kid
Overall Rating: 5/5 Classic

XV and Kendrick Lamar

XV and Kendrick Lamar are both underground hip hop artists with unique styles of rap. Both take rapping about the “real” to an entirely new level. XV has actually been rapping for a while. He has about 16 projects out, his earliest, The Definition, dates back to 2006. XV usually raps about how he was a “nobody” where he came from and now that he’s signed and making a name for himself all these people suddenly care about him. He is seriously well rounded. Now Kendrick Lamar is an amazing artist himself. Both have earned a top spot in my best rappers currently(07-present). Kendrick is an extremely conscious artist with a vast knowledge base. You could learn a lot about politics, life, and other things just ve listening to his music. In fact I wrote a college essay on this guys’s latest project, Section 80. If hip hop is the voice of our generation, these guys could be leaders.

How well they work together:

I think they will be an extraordinary combination. Both can hold their own by themselves, but if you’ve heard Textbook Stuff on XV’s Zero Heroes Mixtape. you notice the two can work well together also. A good comparison would be OutKast. I’m not sure how to describe them though. XV and Lamar would make a similar combination but at the same time they seem like they would be in a league all by themselves. XV’s awkward style, slick punchlines, and witty wordplay along with Kendrick’s intense imagery, wordplay, and metaphors could be an album of the year.

Type of Tracks:

  • Fall Out the Sky/ Outrageous- This would be a track about humility. There was a time XV thought he wasn’t a good enough rapper no matter how many times he was complimented and Kendrick will only consider himself truly the best if he can win our hearts. I can see Seven producing this track with something that starts off with Kendrick and an Outrageous like beat which would gradually give change into something like Textbook Stuff as it approaches XV’s verse.
  • Everybody’s Nobody/ Ignorance is Bliss- This would be where we see two different styles mix well together. Both would be venting about a situation in hip hop(no originality, ignorance, etc…). The instrumental would be like Ignorance is Bliss beat. Kendrick and XV’s different ways of saying the same thing will probably catch a lot of listeners off guard.
  • Now Look/ Average Joe- This would be another track about humility. Both artists rapping about not forgetting where they come from on a track with a Kanye West type of production.
  • Vizzy Vizzy Vizzy/ Rigamortus- Fast flowing song with a lot of punchlines. Since both artists are well rounded I can expect about 70% of punchlines to go over an average hip hop listener’s head and maybe half for the people who usually listen to these guys. The production would be like Rigamortus with maybe a sample from old artists like Ray Charles or someone similar as the hook.
  • The Last Hero/ Ab-Soul’s Outro- (This one is more of what I’m hoping for than what I’m expecting.) Kendrick and XV alternatively saying their verses. But instead o just rapping they also do a traditional spoken word poetry style. Talking about why their rapping and what’s hip hop to them over a instrumental like XV’s When We’re Done.

Overall: It should be an impressive project. The worst rating I would expect from it is a 7.5 but in my opinion, I should get at least an 8.5/10. I wouldn’t predict a lot of love songs, more consciousness and fun tracks about life. If they ever did a project together I think it would reflect various works of theirs.

Kendrick Lamar

What I think of Kendrick Lamar:

Straight outa Compton, California, he’s not a member of N.W.A., but has proved to be a Nigga with Attitude. Well to start I think he is one of the artist(including Drake, Big Sean, and Wale) that give Cole his greatest competition as far as latest artists go. Kendrick is such an amazing artist, I’m wondering is the reason barely anyone has heard of him is because he hasn’t released a studio album yet, or just because not enough of us are repping his music. I hear sop much bullshit, “Hip hop been dead” or “no one puts out good music anymore” and I’m like WHAT the FUCK do you mean? and Most of these comments are coming from people who look to the radio for new music. You’re not going to find the most inspirational music on the radio, its the fucking radio, for a good tune you want to listen to. That’s why artists like Cole and Drake changed up their style slightly. If you want deep rap search that shit nigga. I didnt just come by Kendrick Lamar. I searched until I came across O(verly) D(edicated). I heard Ignorance is Bliss and was amazed. I had to go deeper into his music. I went back to when he was K.Dot and shit this nigga was average or a lil above average at first. Then out of no where he decides to unleash an arsenal of hot rhymes, metaphors, similes consistently. His flow is just so captivating. I find him to be one of the best rappers of our time. And a contributor to why I believe this new roster of artists can rival that of the 90s. I’m as excited to here Kendrick’s debut album (dropping 2012) as a crack fiend would be if their dealer said “idgaf anymore have as much as you want.” I know it’s going to be special. People need to get on Kendrick before he blows up, because when he does I can say, a lot of the fans that come after (if) he brings out some radio type song are pretty much going to get the finger from us, old fans. Ever since OD Kendrick has cease to amaze me. He is also working on a project with J. Cole. We all know that shit is going to be all over my blog for AT LEAST a month everyday. Kendrick’s wordplay, experience, and knowledge make him such an elite artist. I don’t think I’ve seen artist show such drastic improvement like this ever. I believe Kendrick will be as successful as he wants if more people started going deeper in music than just the radio. If you actually read all of this good and have not heard of Kendrick Lamar, you need to check him out. You might like him. For me, I can’t wait for what he has in store for us on his debut album, Good Kid in a Mad City dropping 2012. HiiiPower^

Some of my favorite songs by Kendrick Lamar:

  • ignorance is Bliss (O(verly) D(edicated) Mixtape)
  • Best Rapper Under 25 (C4 Mixtape)
  • HiiiPower (Section 80)
  • The City (R.E.D. Album by The Game feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  • H.O.C.
  • Keisha’s Song
Best Underrated HipHop Mixtapes of 2011

I know I been slacking with reviews but thought I really should do an end of the year review. So this is for the 5 best Mixtapes I’ve heard this year. But I’m only doing artists I think are underrated in Hip hop. So no artists like Fablolous, Lupe Fiasco, Lloyd Banks, etc… It would be way to hard to decide a top 5 with them in it lol.

Big K.R.I.T.- Returnof4eva (5/5)

At the beginning of the year I had the number 1 spot saved for XV’s Zeroes Heroes, but being the fair young man I am, I had to give it to the artist I truly thought deserved it. In this Mixtape, Big K.R.I.T. talks about life for him and others in the south while giving listeners the southern vibe on smooth productions and is accompanied by cool and calming RnB vocals on some songs. Krit has a unique style. Unlike most rappers today he does not use much punchlines. I believe that’s what makes him even more interesting. He’s this good, and he’s not a punchline rapper. (This is coming from a guy who ADORES punchline and metaphorical rappers like Kendrick Lamar, XV, Earl Sweatshirt, etc…). In most of his raps he talks about Southern life and gives it a different look than the normal stereotypes about it. Country Remix is a prime example and also the hit single off the tape. Krit teams up with Southern legends Ludacris and Bun B for a track that kind of shows the more realistic “fun” side to the south. Then he has tracks like Time Machine, where he talks about his car being special to him and how it would remind him his younger days. Lyrically, K.R.I.T. reminds me of a young T.I.P.(ironic huh?). Of course T.I. showed us the tough and wild side of the South. Krit on the other hand gives us this calm and humble side. Songs like Player’s Ballad and Another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed and Racism really showcase Krit’s consciousness. The RnB vocals that he is accompanied by meld well with the song. Not too overbearing but just enough. While production on all songs are amazing. Songs that stood out the most to me were:

  1. Dreamin
  2. Player’s Ballad
  3. Rise and Shine

XV- Zero Heros (4.8/5)

XV is one of my favorite artists. Before him, I really could not think of a rapper that might be able to get as creative as Andre 3000 especially when teamed up with producer, Seven. This album sounded like a sequel to (IMO) second best work, Everybody’s Nobody. In this mixtape, XV raps about being a force in the rap game, his origins in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas, and rising from a nobody to an icon in his hometown while remaining humble. XV’s  persona is that of someone not afraid to rap about everything, on anything, using whatever he can. Foreign Exchange Student Vizzy raps about his dream girl, which he describes as the type to play video games(and is good at it), pretty, nice, fresh af, and just cool in general. (basically a shout out to all the girls that are like that). The features and production are amazing too. He’s not afraid to take his talent on any beat. He rapped on a beat that sampled Kingdom Hearts in When We’re Done. He goes off over rock and pop like instrumentals as well. Very well done production. And I loved every sample. Now lyrically I think this was the best XV mixtape. In songs like Smallville he raps about coming up in a little town no one really knows about and Pictures on my Wall depicts the life of a boy living with his mom and abusive stepfather and his only source of inspiration and happiness was looking athe pictures of those he viewed as his heroes on the wall. Textbook Stuff(feat Kendrick Lamar) the best track on the tape(imo). The song is about two individuals influenced by crime and violence but somehow take different paths in life. XV trying to become a rapper while K.Dot is sentenced to life in prison. The best 3 tracks:

  1. Textbook Stuff (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  2. The Last Hero (Feat. Patrick Stump)
  3. Smallville

Elzhi- Elmatic (4/5)

This such a good type. I think he may one of the few artists that are worthy enough to resurrect a legend’s beat, let alone the entire album, and murder it over again. My nigga Elzhi did his thing. Not only did he spit some hot stuff, he gives listeners and aspiring artists a little advice on the track Pete Rock Shout. I believe yall know the production was dope especially if you heard the original Illmatic by NaS. Elzhi basically one of those cocky humble rappers. Throughout the mixtape he boasts about his skill like most rappers but also talks from such a real point of view. On the track One Love El talks about the a young woman who had bad taste in men until he got into a relationship with her, when he admits to loving her. The only negative I could thing of was if not paying attention to his lyrics tracks can get boring easily. An example for me is Memory Lane, I was uninterested in this track at first because of it’s slowness. I had to start paying attention to the lyricism to really get into it. His lyricism really makes up for it making it an overall delight to listen to. Most people would rush straight to tracks like One Love and The World is Yours but it’s really a tape you should take your time to listen to and appreciate each bar. Best Tracks:

  1. Life’s a Bitch (Feat. Royce the 5'9")
  2. The World is Yours
  3. Halftime

Emilio Rojas- Life Without Shame (3.7/5)

Emilio did his thing on this track. It’s more of a personal mixtape. Talking about personal issues and situations and turning negatives to positives. In All Mixed Up he rapped about being half white half spanish kid but turns it into an positive saying he got “best of both worlds.” He spits about his cultural origins and what he endured as a kid with the teasing and shame people tried to make him feel. One of his more fun tracks, Ex Girl (feat. Mickey Facts) is about the obsessive ex girlfriend he views as crazy, especially since she was the one to ruin the relationship. But it don’t matter because he’s already moving on. And Turn It Up(Feat. Yealwolf) was him spitting about doing his thing no matter what others say. The best part about this track is his changing flows and Yelawolf is on the track too. so you know his verse got wild. The production was cool too, had a calm feeling through out the entire tape, like hip hop mixed with a hint of reggae/reggaeton(I’m really not sure about the reggaeton). Even though a good amount of tracks were really good, a lot were just OK. Best Tracks:

  1. Champion
  2. So Alive
  3. All Mixed Up

D-Pryde- Mars Mixtape (3.5/5)

I am extremely proud of this little guy. I been a Pryde listener since 10th grade. I was a little sceptical at first but as time kept going on he got better. This tape is also personal. He raps about being the Asian kid rapping that wasn’t accepted at first. Tracks like Did It On My Own, talk about how…well he “Did it on his own”. Raps about people not feeling him because he was the Asian trying to be black. But in the end he shocked them all now he’s signed. My favorite track, Highway, is about moving on. Going through tough times and being able to stand tall afterwards. I also loved the hook, he did a good job with singing too. Mr. Big Shot(Feat. August Rigo) was a track he teamed up with friend/producer and singer August Rigo. He raps about being ready for the future especially now that he’s living life like a “big shot.” The production was alright. Nothing to boast about but he should still be proud. A downside is the repetitiveness. I think he said the same thing in about 3 tracks. I like the different ways he said it though, so listeners that dont pay much attention wouldn’t notice and just chill a track. The most impressive thing is there were not much features, most tracks were all him.

  1. Start Again
  2. No Sleep (Feat. Joe Budden)
  3. Highway

Honorable mention: some mixtapes I think got edged out by the competition but deserve a mention:

  • Omen- Afraid of Heights
  • Los- The Crown Ain’t Safe
  • Gilbere Forte- Eyes of Veritas
  • Elite- Awaken
  • CyHi the Prince- Royal Flush 2

Have a Happy New Years and another year of Good Music ^_^

Rap Comparisons

I know a lot of hip hop fans do not like when artists are compared to each other, especially current rappers with legends, but I think these are reasonable

  • J. Cole - Nas
  • Kendrick Lamar - Tupac Shakur
  • XV - Andre 3000
  • Earl Sweatshirt - Big L
  • Tyler the Creator - Eminem(Slim Shady LP & Marshall Mathers LP)
  • Big K.R.I.T. - T.I.
  • Blu - Talib Kweli/Mos Def
  • Jay Electronica - KRS-One/ Asheru
  • Wiz Khalifa - Snoop Dogg
  • Curren$y - Canibus
Hip Hop Never Died

Ever since the radio started only playing catchy songs with less lyrical content people think Hip Hop is dead. And they’re saying artists are saving it. As much as I love J. Cole’s stuff, and nigga, I LOVE J. Cole’s music, Hip Hop isn’t being saved, because it doesn’t need saving. The radio and what people “THINK” is hip hop needs saving. People say Wayne is killing Hip Hop. But haven’t heard the Dedication series mixtapes(prior to the D4), Da Drought Mixtapes series,apparently his Squad Up tapes were sick too and even The Carter 3 Leak Mixtape showed Wayne’s lyrical ability on another level. If you never liked Wayne there were a bunch of rappers 2003+ you could have picked that you might have liked. If you weren’t into Wayne, there was Jadakiss, Styles P, Cassidy, Fab was around, Juelz Santana etc… There were so many styles, but people wanted to criticize hip hop from only listening to the radio. That’s like saying the guy that sags his pants to his knees and curses every 5 words in a conversation is stupid. When in reality that could be the the top student in the entire class just cuz you didn’t want to get to know him. Everyone talks about not wanting to judge or be judged but at the end of the day, we all make calls on our judgments. Even for “swag fags” or whatever you want to call em. Just cuz a guy collects J’s don’t mean his future in the gutter. It’s the same for hip hop. You need to get to know the whole game. Not just the new stuff, not just the old stuff. You’re only looking from one aspect. “Hip Hop is Dead” should have just been another great album, about 1 rough year for the game.

Hip Hop could use more good artists to blow up from out of no where

like can we get someone out of Wisconsin, North/South Dakota, New Hampshire, even New Mexico. I don’t know, I just feel every artist has some new element they add to the game the more places hip hop comes from. XV(from Wichita, Kansas) gave hip hop more conceptual rapping. Logic(Maine) and J.Cole(North Carolina) are some dope artist that have a Nas like feeling to their music with their own flavor to it. NY and Cali will always be the major centers of hip hop, with the most legends, but getting artists from all over, not just America, but the world, would be cool and would most likely benefit the genre.