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Music Review: ‘m.A.A.d city’ does hip-hop justice

Brian Velez
LV Life Editor

Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is perfect, one of the best examples of what a hip-hop album should be. Unlike some overly long hip-hop albums that include up to 18 songs, Lamar places all songs in a delicate 12-song package – a package that does not overwhelm listeners but leaves them wanting more.

The subject matter ranges from love to violence in a believable way. As with Lamar’s previous album and mixtapes GKMC offers the thoughts of a young man conflicted by a life in Compton, religion and attempting to make the right choices in life.

GKMC is a concept album that plays out like a motion picture covering the events of one day in the life of a 17-year-old Lamar and his group of friends.

The album begins with the voices of men reciting “The Sinner’s Prayer,” a prayer acknowledging the sins committed by the orator and acceptance of Jesus as his personal savior.

The prayer is followed by “Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter’s Daughter,” a detailed description of Lamar meeting and courting a young woman named Sherane only to find out she has ill intentions for Lamar.

“Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” the second song, is the best example of Lamar’s conflict between his faith and actions and sets the tone for the entire album.

On the hook, Lamar sings “I am a sinner who’s probably gonna sin again / Lord forgive me, Lord forgive me / Things I don’t understand / Sometimes I need to be alone / Bitch, don’t kill my vibe.”

Lamar follows with tracks about drinking, worshipping money and seducing women with slick lyrics.

The end of most songs contain a skit that helps explain what happens in the song just heard or serves as a preface for the next song.

One of the skit plot lines of the album is Lamar’s parents continuously calling him and leaving voicemails asking when he is returning home with the family van and questioning what he is doing while away from home.

Aside from the voicemails from his parents, the album skits are composed of acted out scenes relevant to the songs.

“The Art of Peer Pressure” contains raps about Lamar’s illegal and malicious activities with his friends, events he justifies by rapping “Rush a nigga quick and then we laugh about it / That’s ironic cus’ I’ve never been violent / Till’ I’m with the homies.”

Lamar tells stories of robbing homes and assaulting people yet all the time knowing it is the wrong decision yet peer pressure sets in.

Though the album features collaborations with fellow rappers Drake, MC Eiht, Jay Rock and Dr. Dre, Lamar remains the star of his own audio movie.

Fans can expect to hear the honesty and angst of a good kid trying to do the right thing in a mad city.

Brian Velez can be reached at brian.velez@laverne.edu.

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