Lets start this review with a confession: When I first heard Kendrick Lamar, I wasn’t really feeling his style. I thought he sounded like yet another gimmicky rapper that tried to rap fast and s**t to mask his lack of content. But after listening to a couple of his ‘Section 80’ Mixtape songs, I began looking at him a bit differently (Dare I say I started to see him as the 21st century version of a prophet?). Yes, Kendrick touts the same skinny jeans and stylish hairstyles like the youth of today, but if you listen to his messages, they could be interpreted as perpetually satisfying. With all that being said, I do recommend listening to the album straight-forward without skipping a track, however, my job today is to find the best five tracks from it.
5. MONEY TREES (5/5)
I love Kendrick’s flow on this track! It is careless, and extremely gangsta.
I feel like you are supposed to do some mobbin’ to this song, but at the same time, its smooth vibes will make you want to lay back and watch your homies do the mobbin’ on your behalf.
I think Jay Rock is one of the corniest yet decent rappers ever.
4. POETIC JUSTICE (5/5)
Ok kids, it’s trivia time! If I told you Kendrick Lamar has one track on this album that’s the softest, smoothest song of 2012, and it features a rapper, who would be the first one that comes to your mind? If you guessed Drake, then you are sadly correct.
I’m usually not a major fan of tracks like these, but I cannot deny that it is good music. Kendrick and Drake go back and forth on some playa s–t on it, trading bars that are sly & tough.
Janet’s soft/soothing voice on this song reminds me of baby lotion for some odd sexual reason.
3. SING ABOUT ME/DYING OF THIRST (5/5)
Steve Urkel’s on the chorus to this song, ya’ll!
Why doesn’t Kendrick use his regular voice on this tracl? If he did, it would probably be even more of a classic.
Kendrick’s flow and lyrical substance is perfect. This is the one song that makes you think Kendrick Lamar went to Nas’s school of rap. It’s heartfelt, it’s raw, it’s passionate.
I love Kendrick’s two point of views on this track! One is clearly Ricky from Boyz in the hood , and the other is definitely Black Chyna.
2. SWIMMING POOLS (5/5)
Everyone knows how I feel about this song, I feel like it talks to me. I am nowhere near an alcoholic, but I have alcoholic-like tendencies, so wishing that there was an actual swimming pool full of liquor is one of my alcoholic tendencies.
This song is unique because it sounds like a radio hit, but at the same time, it shows it’s dark side. If you think he’s actually trying to glamorize liquor, you need to think outside of the box.
1. BITCH DON’T KILL MY VIBE (5/5)
This song starts off kinda weird (Like On some martian s–t!), but once the beat drops, the nodding begins. It’s one of those smooth songs that you grab your drink, sit back and enjoy.
Don’t you like the approach he took on the track? Like a 1990’s pimp! A Young black Casey Jones from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You messin’ with my vibe, you messin’ with my life!
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. SHERANE AKA MASTER SPLINTER’S DAUGHTER (4/5)
2. BITCH, DON’T KILL MY VIBE (5/5)
3. BACKSEAT FREESTYLE (4.9/5)
4. THE ART OF PEER PRESSURE (5/5)
5. MONEY TREES (5/5)
6. POETIC JUSTICE (5/5)
7. GOOD KID (3.9/5)
8. M.A.A.D. CITY (4.9/5)
9. SWIMMING POOLS (5/5)
10. SING ABOUT ME, DYING OF THIRST (5/5)
11. REAL (4/5)
12. COMPTON (4.5/5)
How refreshing is it to have an artist who doesn’t have to feature the whole world on his album to make it good? Anyway, this album reads like a book: You have to listen to it from start to finish to fully gauge the amazing experience of it. Kendrick stayed consistent in his flow, his substance, and his approach. It’s an album that isn’t made to be marketed, it’s made to be heard by specific parties that are interested in the gloomy tales of a kid growing up in Compton.
This is not the type of album you blast in a car, it’s more like an album that you grab your earphones and do school work to.
This “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” will go down as timeless. It will become the standard of how to make a storybook album.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.