I don't care what Shyne has to say -- Kendrick Lamar's new album good kid, m.A.A.d city is all-around amazing. We recently covered "Poetic Justice," but in my opinion "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" is the best off the album.
With a a 9.5 Best New Music rating on Pitchfork and a star-studded guest list -= including the King himself, Dr. Dre -- this is being hailed as one of the best albums of 2012. The release of this major-label debut (Kendrick's now on Aftermath and Interscope) has kicked off with an appearance at No. 2 on Top 200, a testament to Kendrick's ability to weave mellifluous storytelling with killer flow to a larger, mainstream audience. While some may claim the success comes from tracks featuring Drake, to me it's just clear Kendrick's got serious rep from past and present greats. This track shines a light on his individual talent, his ability to deliver piercing lyricism set to a seductive beat production.
Kendrick's the key that unlocks the door to a new era of rap -- a return to the "gangsta" sound of West Coast hip-hop. As he says himself, "You haven't heard a chorus like this in a long time." The current top comment on this YouTube video pretty much sums it up: "Kendrick is to 90's kids what Nas was to 80's kids." He's a portal to the past, somewhat like Andre 3000, but there's this lingering, tangible difference. It's in the energy he distributes, the charm in his narrative. Reminds me a bit of the way underground rapper Andre Nickatina used to spit.
Allmusic editor David Jeffries eloquently explains why you need to listen to this:
"Besides all the great ideas and life, this journey through the concrete jungle of Compton is worth taking because of the artistic richness, plus the attraction of a whip-smart rapper flying high during his rookie season. Any hesitation about the horror of it all is quickly wiped away by Kendrick's mix of true talk, open heart, open mind, and extended hand. Add it all up and subtract the hype, and this one is still potent enough to rise to the top of the pile."
Listen, the polls are in for this election, and the critical response is that Kendrick Lamar is the new president of contemporary gangsta. It doesn't just take rave reviews across the board to know he's on top, all you have to do is take a peak at his listening trend on Last.fm to see he's blowing up.