Best Albums Of 2012 – #11 – Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city


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2012 wasn’t a big year for the rap album. Singles succeeded throughout the internet and (to some extent) the mainstream, but there weren’t any albums that grasped at the public’s attention. That is, except for Kendrick Lamar and his opus. An album devoted to a singular purpose, it achieved a portrait of a young man growing up in Compton.

Lamar is a talented rapper and has an ear for production, but it’s his storytelling that sets him apart from hip hop’s collective mass. Around a diverse palette of beats, the 25-year old wordsmiths observational tales of lust (“Poetic Justice”), crime (“The Art of Peer Pressure”), and alcoholic numbness (“Swimming Pools (Drank)”), all the while retaining an honesty afforded to a self-assured outsider.

If for some reason one can only take in 12 minutes of his skills, the bewildering “Sing About Me…I’m Dying Of Thirst” will sum up everything that makes good kid, m.A.A.d city such a force. So many people want a savior for hip-hop, and so many of those wanted it to be Kendrick Lamar. He may not be concerned about that, but he succeeded anyway.

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