staff picks
Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City

Kendrick Lamar

Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City

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Looking at the album cover you might think this is a Black Keys follow up to El Camino (with the picture of an old minivan and all). But it's not, it's actually a hip-hop album, and a very good one at that! Kendrick Lamar is fairly new to the scene and good kid, m.A.A.d city is his major label debut. One of the first things you notice about the album is how everything seems to flow together. With "skits" in between songs, you get the feeling he is telling a story. Turns out that's exactly what he is doing. Lamar refers to the album as a "short film," and this one is mainly about what growing up in Compton, CA is like ("The Art of Peer Pressure," "Compton"). He actually raps about his own experiences instead of the life he would want everyone to believe he has. It's the difference between art and imitation.

His words are also allowed to take center stage, mainly due to the fact that the majority of the beats don't overpower the songs, thus allowing the listener to actually listen to what he has to say ("good kid," "Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"). I mean I could talk about this album all day! If everything I mentioned above wasn't enough, did I mention that one of the album's executive producers is Dr. Dre? Did I also mention that Dre appears on "The Recipe," and "Compton"?

Grade: Look under the hood of the minivan and you'll find one of the best hip-hop albums of the year.

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