Review Roundup: Kendrick Lamar – ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’

good kid, m.A.A.d city

With the West Coast on his back and co-signs from everyone from Dr. Dre to Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar drops his highly-anticipated debut good kid, m.A.A.d city. Hailed by Dre and Snoop Dogg as the “new king of the West Coast,” the 25-year-old MC paints a vivid portrait of growing up in Compton on the 12 tracks, which feature appearances from Dre, Drake, and Jay Rock, plus production by Pharrell, Hit-Boy, Tha Bizness, Just Blaze, and T-Minus. Did Kendrick live up to the great expectations? Find out below.

Rolling Stone: The plush production of tracks like the Neptunes-produced centerpiece “good kid” hearkens back to Seventies blaxploitation soundtracks and Nineties gangsta-rap blaxploitation revivals, and good kid warrants a place in that storied lineage. 4/5

USA Today: But there’s a sophistication in his cool, taut delivery and deftly syncopated, soulfully textured arrangements, which make his blunt accounts as seductive as they are sobering. 3.5/4

The Washington Post: A collaboration with MC Eiht, “m.A.A.d. City” bridges the gap between old-school and new-school L.A. rap—something Lamar excels at—starting with a frantic beat that transitions into G-funk. It’s a perfect coronation for the new “King of California,” (Dr. Dre’s words), as well as a shining example of Lamar’s hyper-introspective style of SoCal hip-hop.

Pitchfork: The miracle of this album is how it ties straightforward rap thrills—dazzling lyrical virtuosity, slick quotables, pulverizing beats, star turns from guest rappers—directly to its narrative. 9.5/10

The Boston Globe: The centerpiece is the 12-minute meditation on mortality and legacy, “Sing About Me/I’m Dying of Thirst,” which transcends mainstream hip-hop. A triumph.

Chicago Tribune: Even when Kendrick boasts, he sounds like he’s winking at the listener. On “Backstreet Freestyle” he conflates his preacher “Martin-had-a-dream” voice with his own ridiculously outsized dreams, as bawdy as he wants to be. 3.5/4

The Associated Press: Kendrick Lamar is an up-and-coming rapper hailing from Los Angeles with a reputation already built through the underground scene as one of hip-hop’s best lyricists. With the backing of Dr. Dre, the socially conscious emcee continues to enhance that stature on good kid, m.A.A.d city, a cohesive album filled with classic gems.

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Backseat Freestyle,” “Poetic Justice,” “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst”

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40 Comments

  1. rup

    Respect, but Poetic Justice is one of the corniest songs I have ever heard.

    [Reply]

    Truth Reply:

    @rup, Corniest? Get the fuc* outta here. This comment is obviously invalid.

    [Reply]

    rup Reply:

    @Truth,

    Your comment literally offered nothing to this discussion. Thank you for trying.

    Extremely common metaphor/analogy:

    “Making sure my punctuation curve, every letter is true
    Living my life in the margin and that metaphor was proof”

    Cheesy line:

    “Love is not just a verb, it’s you looking in the mirror”

    There are much better songs on the album. I’m a fan of Lamar so you should just stop wasting your time defending songs like Poetic Justice.

    [Reply]

    mitcholos Reply:

    @rup, I Concur.

    [Reply]

    Love Reply:

    @rup, i kinda agree. but to me the only thing corny about it was the chorus to me

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  2. C1

    Epic album !!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    TOKS Reply:

    @C1, EMPAHSIZE THE EPPPPPICC!!!!!!!!!!
    SICK AS ALBUM “WORTHY OF BEING CONSIDERED A CLASSIC IN THE FUTURE”

    [Reply]

  3. Chet

    Classic!!!! Haters fall the fuck back. You wish your fav whack “emcee” could!

    [Reply]

    Chauncey Reply:

    @Chet, Tell that to K. He’s already saying NOT to call his album a classic … yet.

    [Reply]

  4. Fred

    Kendrick is the truth, and this album is too dope!

    [Reply]

  5. Dro

    Well deserved. His album is amazing

    [Reply]

  6. MONTY

    Great for him. Him and J. Cole are two of the few rappers with credibility these days.

    [Reply]

  7. @antonysheph

    This album is epic. I’ve been a fan of Kendrick for a while now, and I’m so happy that this album came together nicely – it has so much meaning behind it. The skits at the end was clever and I made the album alot more better. And it’s mad that there’s an array of different producers but it sounds so strong, my favourite songs are Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe and Backstreet Freestyle! Kendrick is the Pac of our generation.

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  8. Jessica

    Very well deserved. This album pretty much lived up to the hype. It has a good balance of being commercial enough, yet it still feels like kdot without compromising his style. Amazing production and amazing lyrics with a good concept; hopefully this elevates Kendrick’s popularity.

    [Reply]

  9. William

    Just bought this guys album on iTunes and its incredible, great songs on there! Respect Kendrick

    [Reply]

  10. attaboy

    It’s a cool album. Too early to say its a classic, but I know HIP HOP is HIP HYPE nowadays. It’s a decent album and worth buying… But please with the illmatic comparisons. illmatic changed the game, this album is a break in the game….

    [Reply]

  11. Shae

    Respect. Hip-Hop is healing.

    [Reply]

  12. Pereezy YMCMB MMG

    Kendrick’s Winnin’

    [Reply]

  13. pete

    the album didnt deliver like game or 50 cent on aftermath

    [Reply]

  14. TRA

    Kendrick Lamar’s GOOD KID, M.A.A.D. CITY Album is the best hip hop album of the year right now. Kendrick Lamar’s GOOD KID, M.A.A. D. CITY Album is getting great critical reviews, universal acclaim, and great praise from all hip hop fans and music fans. What makes this album a future classic is the amazing production, and amazing lyrics. Hip Hop needed this type of album after all the horrible music that is played on the radio.

    I believe that Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Kanye West, Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, J. Cole, Lupe Fiasco, and T.I. are the only great rappers left that is putting out good music. I don’t believe this album is better than Nas’ Illmatic, but this is the best hip hop album I have ever heard since Nas’ Life Is Good album and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album. I hope Kendrick Lamar’s new fame increases his popularity outside of hip hop to greater heights.

    [Reply]

    Guy Reply:

    @TRA, Only great rappers left? Really, dude? I hope you know that’s just your opinion. Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul put out great albums and then there’re Curren$y, Big KRIT, Danny Brown, Macklemore, ASAP Rocky and a lot of others putting out good records/tracks. Everyone I have mentioned is better than TI and Drake, by the way.

    [Reply]

  15. Diego

    Album is just ok to me game debut was better beats are ok but he can rap

    [Reply]

    Soessential Reply:

    @Diego, YESS!!U SO DAMN RIGHT!

    [Reply]

  16. WhoCares

    Did GKMC make it out before the Grammy nomination deadline?

    [Reply]

  17. tgod

    Ryan Leslie les is more classic.

    [Reply]

  18. A$VP Richie

    This album was dope. Great reviews, hope it does good numbers

    [Reply]

  19. Mr. Fye

    I really enjoy this album. Its one of those no skip albums that I love. its one of those when ur not listening to it ur thinking about it album that I havent gotten that feel since MBDTF.

    [Reply]

  20. bibi93

    Good job

    [Reply]

  21. mitcholos

    Drake Had No Business On This Album.
    His Conscious Doesn’t Live Up To Kendrick’s.

    Drake’s Only Concerned With Adolescent HeartBreak And Lovey Dovey Chit… And His Voice Is Wretched.

    [Reply]

  22. Yo

    But when his album has a 91/100 rating on metacritic. That’s the best rap album rating of this year. These other rappers ain’t ready for him nor Cole.

    [Reply]

  23. mel

    everyone’s complaining about the beats….these are the type of beats he’s been using on every piece of work he’s done…he accomplished making a good album with out having to have typical ass beats..

    [Reply]

  24. Vance

    I’m not a K. fan, but some of the songs are mad dope. What I do know, however, is that he and J. Cole are two of the few rappers I respect.

    [Reply]

  25. THE QUEEN IS COMING!!

    11/19/12 Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded The RE-UP ! Nicvember !

    [Reply]

  26. Loyalty

    I’m a fan of Kendrick his album had a great concept and story behind it but it was just average. I know Cole album didn’t live up to his mixtapes but I like Cole album better. My we place to much expectation on both of them based off their mixtapes.

    [Reply]

    Kalin Reply:

    @Loyalty, You took the words out of my mouth. Of course the mixtapes were better, but Sideline Story just speaks to me because I can relate to so much. GKMC …. not so much.

    [Reply]

  27. HUGH

    Best reviews for a rap album since MBDTF

    [Reply]

  28. Mimi

    Loooovvvee this album! Just got it today! Him along with the rest of #TDE are sum of the only ppl givin me hope for hip hop cuz like sumone else said theres alot of “HIP HYPE’ Goin on. Support real music. Respect Kendrick=D!

    [Reply]

  29. bneasy

    this album sounds like outkast meets the roots meets the westcoast. lyrically k dot is undeniable. album is very good and well thought out, of course there will be naysayers but thats with everything. Production wise, he had beats like this on his previous work so im not understanding the flack hes gettin for that. i personally liked it, very good album. better with each listen

    [Reply]

  30. Beeuy Pretty Sunniz

    let see how the album trun out to be

    [Reply]

  31. Balrock

    GKMC I love that album, but I heard some ign`ant person dissing drake, whoever u aqre u dont know what you talking about, bro drake is a legend the music his putting is dope and last year the whole summer I was listeng 2 takecare and I never enjoy no album like that. Well since Drake has not released this year the dtwo dope rappers I will listen to is kendrick Lamar and Asap rocky. Now I want sayb that I think Kendrick is there at the top and this album which I think is going to the greatest classic is there, poetic justice,swimming pools, bitch dont kill my vibe and the recipe are those songs that probably gonna get radio time but me I love each song and I was taken to ajourney the whole album. When was the alst time a rapper took you to a journey I could not skip a track and even the title of the songs are extraordinary. Which rapper would name a song “The art of peer pressure” kendrick is one of kind and I LOVE IT.

    [Reply]

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