By BREANNA DAVIS
Although there was a lot of doubt regarding the success of the album, Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” has shown itself worthy. As he introduces us to layer upon layer of his mind, Lamar shows us the art of his lyrical genius. He does more than just blow our minds; he takes us on a journey with him. Kendrick reveals himself, his life, his family and his struggle to us in a bare, stripped down way that somehow pulls us in and makes us feel as if this life is ours. Maybe it’s because he’s so straight with it and honest. His music isn’t hidden under heavy or clashing sounds in the background that drown out the words and meaning of the song. Nor does he have to overcompensate with flashiness to hide the lack of talent.
As the first person to drop an album from Aftermath Entertainment in six years who is not Eminem or 50 Cent, Lamar had a lot riding on this album. Rather than being swallowed by the hype that’s sweeping hip–hop right now, Kendrick has stuck true to the lyrics and rhymes that gained him recognition from the beginning. He still has the intelligence behind his music that has always been there.
Kendrick gives us what is present in everyday life: struggle. In every beat and sound of every song is the struggle that every man and woman can relate to. Even while doing this, however, he doesn’t beat us over the head with it or preach to us. He simply shows us the truth that he sees.
A few of the songs on this album, such as “Swimming Pools,” seem to be in place more to show how not to act or present yourself. On the surface, the song seems to be promoting alcoholism or, at the very least, inebriation. However, if the lyrics are actually observed and reflected upon, it is directly in opposition to heavy drinking.
The way Kendrick puts together a line is unique as he explores different aspects that many wouldn’t use. For example, in “Poetic Justice” he asks, “If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room, would you trust it?” In asking that one question, he’s asking someone to believe in the improbable, something that we have been taught since childhood cannot happen.
Other critics are conflicted about the success of the album. There are some who believe the album was anti-climactic, while others are more in line with my opinion that the album was a bit of genius on the ear. Regardless, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” has been named as one of the top 25 classic albums of the past 10 years by “Complex” and has a Metacritic score of 91, indicating “universal acclaim.” And with its ability to remain widely accessible while tackling such weighty material, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is worth checking out for mainstream and underground hip– hop fans and for casual music fans who simply enjoy great, intelligent music.