ENTERTAINMENT: Kendrick Lamar Poised For Stardom With “Good Kid, m.a.a.d. City”

By Kyle Kandetzki – Editor-In-Chief

The new face of west coast hip hop is on the horizon, and his name is Kendrick Lamar.

California rapper Lamar has slowly made his name huge since putting out his first mixtape at 16, and now nine years later his major label debut “Good Kid, m.a.a.d. City” was released on October 22.

Lamar received his first boost in popularity when fellow Compton rapper Dr.Dre took him under his wing and eventually signed his protégé to his label, Aftermath Entertainment. After the success of Lamar’s independent album “Section.80”, much anticipation was put behind his forthcoming 2012 release.

With hype and appearances by rarely performing Dr. Dre behind him, Lamar’s “Good Kid” was released to huge acclaim by critics and success by sales, with 242,000 sales in the first week.

“Good Kid” finds its first success by providing a short film environment throughout the album, and keeping the listener engrossed through skits involving dark elements of living in Compton, California. Though the stories are based on Lamar’s loss of innocence in Compton as a kid, the story is actually told of a fictional character.

“[It’s about] The kid that’s trying to escape that influence, trying his best to escape that influence, has always been pulled back in because of circumstances that be,” said Lamar on the album’s story and setting.

On the subject of the songs, almost all of the 12 tracks hit a fantastic note on setting a perfect tone for each subject being taken on. The album’s lighter tracks like “Don’t Kill My Vibe” provide a rare soft look at teenage Lamar’s look on the rap game. Though the other rare light track “Real” falters with an annoying repetitive chorus, (“I’m real, I’m real…etc.”) and an odd topic on loving yourself.

The album fails to falter elsewhere though, as Lamar has made an art out of dark songs throughout “Good Kid”. Lead single “Swimming Pools” has a hollow beat and a catchy chorus to go along with a story about Lamar’s mental battle in being introduced to alcohol in a failed attempt to escape his problems.

“M.a.a.d. City” also comes in as one of the best songs on the album as Lamar flashes back to his violence filled childhood and slings line after line of how he survived his younger life at an entertainingly fast pace.

Lamar has made himself an even bigger name with “Good Kid” and is sure to finally take off to mainstream success with his recent effort.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

(Photo courtesy hiphopwired.com)

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