Jan 5, 2016

AOTY 2012 Revisited - Good Kid: mA.A.d City

"Lord God, I come to you a sinner. I believe that Jesus is lord...." This simple prayer lead by Maya Angelou lays out the foreshadowing that is Good Kid m.A.A.d City, a short film by Kendrick Lamar.

I've never heard an album paint an entire tale in the space between my ears the way this did.  I remember where I was the first time I heard this. It was October 2012 and me and my roomate held a listening party in our dorms. We had two sets of Logitech speakers and a splitter because he was a producer and I DJ. So we invited all our friends to our room for our own listening party. Kendrick was an up and comer but when he gave us The Heart Pt 3 the day before the album dropped, I knew this was something I shouldn't miss. I knew Kendrick was dope; what I didn't know is he was special. Let's get into it.

This project was received very well and made comparisons to Nas' Illmatic which I could argue is the Greatest Hip-Hop album of all time. It was done with little promotion to the few singles they had. Impressive. When I first heard this young man from Compton (Section.80)  I had no idea what caliber artist he would eventually become. Before this album I thought he was a smart, very concious spitter signed to Aftermath and TDE. This was a winning combination because he wouldn't get too much label pressure and would essentially be able to make the album he wanted to make. That didn't jeopardize the art and that is what hip-hop is about. Each song was placed intricately with skits both serious and funny to accompany the music. No matter how much time passes I'll always remember the narrative. A young boy finding his path in life balancing relationships with family, friends, women and struggling in his pursuit of manhood in the Mad City that is Los Angeles. His mom want the van back, his dad wants Domino's, his homies looking for trouble, and Sherane might just be too. I swear you have to listen to every song in order to really get the album. The Art of Peer Pressure, Money Trees featuring Jay Rock, Backseat Freestyle, and Maad City featuring MC Eiht stood out the most to me. Each song telling a crazy tale about a day in the life of Kendrick Lamar. Music is supposed to make you feel but sometimes I felt like I was passenger in the seat next to him. This could have easily been the soundtrack to any John Singleton movie. Some days I feel like it could have been the soundtrack to mine (or Tre from Boyz in the Hood). Read the original review in it's entirety here.

Sidebar: I didn't really start liking my ex until she rapped Backseat Freestyle start to finish in my ear. I thought that was the sexiest thing someone has ever done to me.
Jonathan C. Ramsey
Jonathan C. Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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