It seems that Kendrick Lamar has delivered.
After riling up the industry and audience alike, many wondered if the Compton MC would be able to live up to the hype. I know I did. Impressive mixtapes solidified talent, but some skeptics wondered if the rapper would be able to present a cohesive, moving debut LP. I know I did. Then good kid, m.A.A.d city leaked.
We live in the age of hyperbole, and some are touting the album as an instant classic. I won’t necessarily go there, but I will say that Kendrick delivered. He was able to create an album released by a major record label that is human and complicated, and for that alone the album is a success. Overtly a concept album, it uses a “day in the life of a teenage Kendrick” to examine the dead horse that is life in the hood. But instead of falling into typical and one-dimensional tropes, Kendrick trusts his audience with a bit of intelligence.
Brandon Soderberg of SPIN compared the album to Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep film, in that both depict life in one of the Blackest and poorest areas of Los Angeles but “refuse to define [the] area by it’s worst citizens.” Though I have reservations about that particular comparison, if you’ve seen the film, you might anticipate it — an earnest innocence and humanity is definitely a common thread in both works.
I’m sure I’ll revisit the album at some point, but for now enjoy one of the light-hearted cuts from the project, “Poetic Justice.” The track finds Scoop Deville flipping a lovely Janet Jackson sample into a slice of 90′s nostalgia. The beat just feels like summer of 90something before the first bar is spat. Drizzy comes through with a verse, because what’s a girl song without Canada’s finest?
Oh, in case you’re wondering about the artist picture for this post, that is Kendrick outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles hosting a free concert this past Sunday evening in front of a few thousand fans in anticipation of his album release.