11.02.2012

Review: Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d. city”

I’m really into rap right now, probably a little too much. After last month’s A$AP Rocky concert, I can’t stop listening. It got to the point that my friends had to sit me down and remind me there is more music to be heard than solely Danny Brown. I realized I had to broaden my pallet; there is such a thing as overplaying an artist. But while staying within the confines of my beloved rap genre, I began to expand, listening to various other artists. In my expansion, I began listening to Kendrick Lamar. As his 2010 album, Section 80, was critically acclaimed, immense hype surrounded his latest release, good kid, m.A.A.d. city. I had to give it a listen. And though I can’t call it groundbreaking, “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” is nonetheless a great album.

Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (Drank)

Although I don’t agree that “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” is the instant classic it has been deemed by various music publications, it still is ultimately a success. The production is varied, encompassing pseudo- electronica and hard guttural beats, with Lamar effectively
navigating his way lyrically through each song. The lyrical content on the album is varied, and while contained mostly in today’s usual rap themes of women, money, poverty, there is creativity in all he says. The sole problem I have with “good Kid, m.A.A.d. city” is that it forces the listener to ask, is Kendrick Lamar really that good or is hip-hop today just that bad? Rappers are often given too much credit; if an artist manages to say something mildly creative or original they are excessively praised. Kendrick Lamar embodies this to an extent. Although in “good kid, m.A.A.d. city,” Kendrick is able to avoid the Lil Wayne pitfall of rhyming “hoes” with “hoes”, overall he struggles to say something new. His lyrics are indeed good, but occasionally formulaic: while Kendrick strives for so-called “intellectual hip-hop,” lines like “I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel tower/so I can f*ck the world for 72 hours” don’t help his cause.

With my “Lil Wayne is killing hip-hop” rant aside, I need to emphasize that, while I don’t view “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” as wildly original, it still is to me the best rap album of the year.
I have no clue what that says about the hip-hop genre as a whole, but regardless, “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” is definitely worth a listen.

-Robert Cornell

Leave a Reply