Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (studio album) by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar bestography
The best album by Kendrick Lamar is To Pimp A Butterfly which is ranked number 23 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 40,985.
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Good Kid, M.A.A.D City track list
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This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 88.2/100, a mean average of 86.2/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 88.3/100. The standard deviation for this album is 17.5.
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Fantastic album, and a real preview into what would come later
Where does one even begin with this? It has been labelled as "an instant classic" or "a modern day Illmatic" or "the album that saved the album format". Such comments usually do more harm than good, as we either subconsciously develop a defensive/negative reaction or we simply set the bar too high and then get disappointed because it's impossible for it to match our sky-high expectations. Anyways, let's just try to appreciate it for what it is.
Production is characterized by the variety of producers. It could be argued that this would lead the album to lacking a central point of reference, but that's far from what's happening here. It has a balanced all-around sound, a hint of old-school(couldn't be any other way with Dr.Dre involved) but for the most part it's full of fresh vibes. But the main achievement of the production is that it leaves a lot of room for Kendrick to shine. His delivery is otherworldly (I remember a comment that was everywhere when the album came out: "Does he ever breath?"), not to mention he effortlessly changes styles without compromising his flow by any means.
Now, the lyrics. The narrative is the best part – not that it has any glaring weaknesses in other aspects, but this is what really sets this album apart. The character development would put many books and movies to shame, let alone albums. Personal, realistic, relatable, it allows the listener to vividly visualise what's going on and get involved in the drama. He gives flesh and bone to all the human relationships (family, friends, girlfriend) and even to abstract concepts such as faith.
Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter's Daughter tells the story of meeting a girl, it's a case where the storytelling (combined with the top-notch production and delivery) is better than the actual story, which is not so special on its own (completely off-topic, but that's a common occurrence in Quentin Tarantino movies). Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe is definitely more interesting, even though it has nothing to do with the main "plot", it is a commentary on where hip hop music scene is heading and where he stands ("I can feel the changes I can feel the new people around me just want to be famous You can see that my city found me Then put me on stages, to me that's amazin' To you that's a quick check With all disrespect, let me say this"). Then comes Backseat Freestyle, a song that is often overlooked in favor of some of the other (admittedly also great) songs, but actually is one of my favorites. It perfectly captures the essence of youth, the unfounded confidence that you are capable to go against all odds and achieve your goals ("Martin had a dream Martin had a dream Kendrick have a dream") and the immature, if not outright ridiculous, aspirations ("All my life I want money and power Respect my mind or die from lead shower I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower So I can fuck the world for seventy-two hours"). The Art of Peer Pressure is where things really start to get going. Being with the homies is cool and stuff, but where do you draw the line, how far are you gonna go? The value of friendship is surpassed by the pressure of being forced into things you don't like just to fit ("we pulled up on a bunch of workin' girls And asked them what they workin' with Look at me, I got the blunt in my mouth Usually I'm drug-free, but, shit, I'm with the homies"). The fourth verse is astoundingly intense . And it's one of those songs that keeps getting better by each subsequent listen. Essential for the album's course, ambitious storytelling at its finest. In Money Trees it's all about the money ("Money trees is the perfect place for shade And that's just how I feel"). It's not one of my favorites, the whole "Ya bish" business was kinda repetitive and overall I feel it doesn't justify its length. On the other hand, there is one of the most memorable quotes of the album ("Everybody gon' respect the shooter But the one in front of the gun lives forever") and Jay Rock contributes a commendable verse. Poetic Justice is tied to the first track, as it is about Sherane ("If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room Would you trust it?") , so it's not that interesting. Drake is acceptable, but I could do without him, while the Janet Jackson vocal sample shines like a diamond and elevates the whole song. In Good kid the first verse hits you like a truck (the same pattern continues throughout the song, but the first one is unexpected and always hits harder) : the life on the streets is depicted as it is, stripped of its glory and our hero becomes a tragic figure facing despair and unsolvable dilemmas ("But what am I 'posed to do when the topic is red or blue And you understand that I ain't But know I'm accustomed to just a couple that look for trouble And live in the street with rank"). m.A.A.d. city sheds more light on how his character got shaped through some painful flashbacks and we get to see why Kendrick is "Compton's Human Sacrifice". In particular part I is crazy, mind-blowing stuff. Swimming Pools (Drank) on the surface follows a "poppier" approach -somewhat understandable, since it was a single- but its content is dark as the psychological struggle continues, having to deal with peer pressure ("Some people wanna fit in with the popular, that was my problem") and alcoholism ("Okay, now open your mind up and listen me, Kendrick I am your conscience, if you do not hear me Then you will be history, Kendrick I know that you're nauseous right now"). Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst is the climax of the album, it's like everything that came before was only paving the way for this. The moment of catharsis, the album could have ended here as far as I 'm concerned. And I still don't buy it's 12 minutes long, it feels more like 3 or 4. The last two songs are ok (Real can get a bit annoying) but not really necessary.
it's a good album but the style is not for me. I do feel its over-rated but maybe I just dont like trap. TPAB is ten thousand times better to me... but I love jazz music and alternative hip hop so... maybe its just preference
Not as interesting as what comes after it, but you get multiple tastes of the potential here.
New listen for me. I see why it is so highly rated although it took me a couple of listens to tune in and feel it will grow stronger over time.
Absolutely incredible album, put Kendrick on the map as one of the best in the game
i like it
This is what you need to listen to understand who Kendrick is and where he comes from: His Origin Story if you will. Lyrically and musically impressive.
Really great album I like to listen here the story of Lamar in Compton. But not only the lyrics are good I like the music with all the beats and drops on almost every track you can here a recording of people who influenced Lamar.
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