Well what can I say, If I could give 6 stars, I would. The whole album is a masterpiece and the best thing I've heard in 2012, without a doubt. It's set out to be an ALBUM, not just a bunch of tracks on a disc. Kendrick tells a story all the way through, hence the album is appropriately named, 'a short film by Kendrick Lamar'. It's genius, it's almost like a movie experience on an album. There's some skits at the beginning and end of songs as a tactic to get you into the right mood for the following track, and to lay out the topic/issue that Kendrick wants to talk about. I can safely say, from amazing heart felt tracks like 'the art of peer pressure', to the incredible Hit-Boy produced track (N****s in Paris, Goldie), 'Backseat Freestyle', Kendrick kills every track, as you would expect from such a talented lyricist. Best album of 2012, easily.
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.
this album is different to anything you have hear before and Kendrick is a true artist because of this.I was phased very gradually into Kendrick's music, first with A D H D and then onto things like king kunta , and i know that any of his fans would be screaming at me right now because these are some of his weakest songs, but do not be fooled by anything you have heard on the radio or edits and remixes. You do not listen to this music you are haunted by it, the subtle backing track sometimes says more than the actual song witch is why you think deeply about it but your not sure why. Normally rappers turn off some crowds because of there so called "banging tunes" or heavy base but this is not plagued by such absentees. the tunes are euphoric but entrancing and you cant help feeling with Kendrick through the music and the words. It truly feels like you are in his mind . The tunes are his feelings and his words are the deliberations of a wistful man or most of the time representing the oppressive and manipulative nature of humans and consequently society.
After a stark sound bite and an ominous eerie sweeping sound, you are greeted with a smooth bassline that is a foretaste for the heavy soul influence sweeping through the whole album
The general theme of the album is one of the power of influence and the power over us that our surroundings have. The ability of what is outside of ourselves to fundamentally change and alter our very being, be those things people or a general environment and its cultural norms, is discussed within this albums songs.
Aside from any philosophical concerns there is of course an album of good quality songs that stand up even if you aren’t inclined to any deep though (or any thought at all) and are generally quite fun and playful. There is no need to skip any tracks as they are all good and there is plenty of variety to keep you going, although I’m not sure you need three versions of ‘...dont kill my vibe’.
review from from Sam Jackson @ hilltopviewsonline.com The young rapper's major label debut "good kid, m.A.A.d city" starts out with a group of men reciting a prayer asking the Lord to come into their hearts. Usually in this business it takes a drug/alcohol induced flameout to get artists on a spiritual kick, but Lamar seems to have skipped some levels. Not that his ascent has not been quick either. After putting out his first mixtape at 16, he started rising in the hip-hop world, both by himself and as part of the four-man super group Black Hippy, who have two remixes on deluxe editions of "good kid, m.A.A.d city." His first album, the critically acclaimed "Section.80," caught the attention of legendary producer Dr. Dre, who executive produced this album. So why does someone who has become so successful at 23 need aid from above? Judging from the lyrical themes of "good kid," Lamar's trying to exorcise the ghosts of his past, mostly eschewing typical hip-hop braggadocio for deeper lyrics about things like girl trouble, the death of close friends, and his Compton upbringing. The whole album is cloaked in beats from a variety of producers, ranging from big names such as Just Blaze, Pharrell and Hit-Boy, to past affiliates from "Section.80," with sounds ranging from seductive synths and drums ("Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter's Daughter," "Swimming Pools (Drank)"), and old school West Coast bombast ("Backseat Freestyle," the "California Love" rip-off "Compton"). The songs often end with little skits, snippets of dialogue that range from "Friday"-esque hilarity to disturbing violence. Lamar seems to prefer rapping on his own most of the time, which is fine since this is his story and he tells it with incredibly deep, meditative lyrics and an expert flow, but he does make room for others to drop verses as well, bringing in Drake, Dr. Dre, and his Black Hippy comrade Jay Rock, along with a few others. All in all, it is a brilliant album that soars above the standard for rap. Kendrick Lamar was running from his past on this album and not only did he manage to leave it behind, he has left his competition in the dust as well