Kendrick Lamar, ‘‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’’ (Interscope Records)
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. He takes his storytelling ability to a higher level on his major label debut, a follow-up to his 2011 independent release, ‘‘Section.80,’’ that received positive reviews.
On his new offering, Lamar’s rap cadences are finely in sync with the stellar production by Pharrell, Tha Bizness, Hit-Boy, Just Blaze and others. The album is an open book of soulful stories that are intertwined through entertaining and thought-provoking skits, with Lamar telling several compelling moments of his upbringing in Compton, the gritty city southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
Lamar recalls when he was engulfed in a persuasive environment, running the streets with disobedient friends on ‘‘The Art of Peer Pressure.’’ That song seamlessly connects with ‘‘Money Trees,’’ where 25-year-old Lamar and guest Jay Rock eloquently rap in detail about a young man’s mentality to commit home invasions with the hope of becoming a rap star.
‘‘Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst,’’ which is 12 minutes long, is a combination of two songs that brilliantly tells three different emotional stories. Lamar is also strong on songs like ‘‘Real,’’ ‘'(Expletive), Don’t Kill My Vibe,’’ ‘'Swimming Pools (Drank)’’ and the Drake-assisted ‘‘Poetic Justice,’’ which samples Janet Jackson’s ‘‘Any Time, Any Place.’’
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: On the bonus track, ‘‘Black Boy Fly,’’ Lamar pays homage to NBA player Arron Afflalo and rapper The Game, recognizing them for successfully breaking out of Compton.
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