Albums You Must Own Number 13 – Good Kid, Maad City by Kendrick Lamar
If you took last year and chose any albums that you know would stand the test of time, you would choose two: ‘Channel Orange‘ and ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city‘. The Kendrick Lamar album almost showed to us that hip-hop had hope and it wasn’t fully dead.
On the album Lamar found the perfect line between the mainstream and underground and followed the line for the whole route. By using electronic effects and live instruments (mainly bass), he created a sound that appealed to everyone and each track therefore flowed well against each other. From the chilled out and candid ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe‘ to the energetic, confident and self-assured tracks ‘Backseat Freestyle‘ and ‘m.A.A.d city‘ you see that Lamar knows how to rap using different emotions and tones, which add to the autobiographical elements.
What made the album powerful was the use of real life experience, making the album more truthful, raw and hard-hitting. He showed that non-fiction was just as strong as fiction in hip-hop. The music created was helped by how thrilling Kendrick’s flow was, which meant even the most simple of beats could be made into one of the best rap tracks heard in a while.
It would be hard to find choose any highlights from the album because honestly every track is just as good as each other because of the strict direction and narrative Lamar uses. ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)‘ where Kendrick Lamar showcased his rapping talent to most of the world, who hadn’t heard his debut ‘Section.80‘; had a subtle dark message underneath all of the playfulness of the track and managed to make radio music available underground.
Being born in Compton, Kendrick Lamar was born around an era where crack cocaine and crime filled the city, but gave the rapper the original West/Californian hip-hop sounding music to grow up to. This influence can be easily heard in ‘The Recipe‘ which features Dr Dre – an ending that is ultimately a love letter to California. On the track the mid-tempo hip-hop drum loop that you would hear in 80’s/90’s rap is refined and transformed for more suitable use in the 2010 decade.
No matter which track you listen to on each track, you’ll be hooked on the refined production, the contrasting energetic and relaxed tones throughout, Lamar’s ability to rap with a flow no-one else as right now and the narrative which is a story worth understanding.
Review by Bally Athwal