Early in 2012 my teenage son (whose musical taste mostly comprises of grime, dub step and rap) played me a song called 'Cartoons And Cereal' by Kendrick Lamar. I was so impressed, I asked him to play it again. Here was a 'rapper' who wasn't singing about the usual topics of bitches, n****s and having wads of money. Instead, he was telling us about how he wanted to do something with his life.
On the strength of this I purchased this album, and have to say that I wasn't disappointed in the slightest (bearing in mind, this review is from a middle aged classic rocker who thinks the best album ever is Zep's Physical Graffiti
! From the very first tune it grabs you - no over production, no thud thud beat that annoys the balls off you! Lyrically, it's one of the strongest albums I've heard in a long time. Tracks that stand out for me are 'The Art Of Peer Pressure' - how many teenagers could learn from this? - and 'Sing About Me: I'm Dying Of Thirst' - the haunting backing vocals of the second half are simply superb. From start to finish it's a master class.
The album is full of quality, and just grows with each play. I can't recommend it highly enough - if you buy just one hip-hop/rap album this decade, buy this one - you won't be disappointed.