Kendrick Lamarr is the biggest thing to come out of the West Coast since the Game was getting hot behind the Interscope/ G-Unit machine and with some good reason, kid can rap. However, the difficulty is in getting around his awkward delivery and unique song construction to be able to get some mainstream success. Following up on Last year's Section 80, Kendrick is dropping the much anticipated Good Kid : M.A.A.D. City.
The album is mostly sequential because as you listen, a story unfolds about a kid nearing the end of his high school days and his life in Compton. it unfolds like a Spike Lee type movie with some flashback sequences mixed in with the current action. Check the first track, "Sherane AKA Master Splinter's Daughter" as Kendrick tells a tale about meeting Sherane, going through the summer, and one fateful day during the school year as he makes a week day run to try and get some ass only to roll right into a jacking. "Botch Don't Blow My High" is more of a laid back and ride through a late summer/early fall night with the hoodies on and chill back, especially if you're a smoker, which I'm not, but it's a lot of people who gonna be quoting the hook to others incorporating it into the normal vernacular. "Backseat Freestyle" picks up on the story in a way that's a flashback where Kendrick sees himself in his boys car just spitting to a beat. This flows into "The Art of Peer Pressure" where Kendrick's story continues as he talks about, no describes how he (maybe his character or maybe himself) does different things because he is with the homies and that's just what's going on.
"Money Trees" is pretty slick, I like how the beat flows and how it manages to help massage Kendrick's flow and make it more palatable and break up what can be the monotony. The verses are about life to this point and it features Jay Rock who was kind of MIA lately. "Poetic Justice" samples Janet Jackson's 'Anytime Anyplace' while Kendrick gets on his sexy shit about what he is feeling about Sherane as he heads on over to her. It's like this song which features Drake was what he was listening to while in the car. "Good Kid" is Kendrick talking about his position in the city as he tries to stay above the streets and still survive. "M.A.A. D. City" features MC Eiht and while the previous song is about how Kendrick tries to avoid the streets, this song which switches in the midst is more of the specific reasons of why he stays out of the streets and the specific things that go on.
"Swimming Pools (Drank)" is the single and more about the life that the young folks of Compton live and their escape, drinking. Kendrick argues with himself on this one as he battles the temptation. Please remember, at the end of these songs, the story continues and you need to hear it at least twice fully through. With that said, the next track, "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" is after a shooting and the different people this killing affects, from his brother's girl, to the victim's brother himself, to Kendrick who makes songs about the events that go on and the people in it. Deep track. "Real" features Anna Wise and is an alright song but one of those be conscious for the ladies type of songs. The album ends with a feature from Dr. Dre on "Compton" with Kendrick just talking about making it and the city which every Compton rapper has to do. There are three bonus tracks, "The Recipe" with Dre once again which seems like a potential single cut, "Black Boy Fly" is about Kendrick thinking he couldn't possibly make it while working to get there and chronicling the success of one of his boys, as well as "Now or Never" which features Mary J. Blige on that feel good cause I've made it tip.
Overall, I think kendrick put together a very solid album, it's an album that is tied together and that is rare these days when things are driven by singles. Some of the songs and concepts can be difficult to follow in an era of dumbed down rap but the skits and story that accompany make the entire album so cohesive you need to listen through and not skip. This is going to limit the play through value for some people since there isn't that easy to get into vibe like a Rick Ross is famous for. The lyrics are there, the songs fit together strongly and nothing is really out of pace and the production switches up just enough to keep it from being boring.