Polydor | 23.10.12
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is Lamar’s debut studio album yet it’s already been hailed as a modern hip hop classic and it’s easy to see why. In a highly cinematic fashion, the album shifts in musical style and form to correspond to Lamar’s narratives, which detail his struggle and crucially, his innocence living in Compton; a city synonymous with gang violence and drug abuse. The title track Good Kid sums this up succinctly: “I feel you just want to kill all my innocence while ignoring my purpose”.
The album is constantly on the move as monologues mould in to neo-soul instrumentals which then become more regular hip hop beats. And here is where the main criticism lies. While the majority of beats on the album feel either fresh or have a purposively vintage aesthetic, several feel generic and lazy; the track Maad City feels particularly tired. However, even the more disappointing tracks on Good Kid feature Lamar’s impeccable flow and consistently brilliant, albeit frequently dark lyricism which offer new perspectives on that favourite of hip hop themes – gang culture.