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

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.