Kendrick Lamar is good at what he does. Super cool, chill hip-hop songs that are honest and effective.
One of the first things that stand out on the record are the interludes with phone calls from Kendrick’s parents and friends. It’s the small things like that which makes rapper’s major-label debut more organic than most.
“Backstreet Freestyle” is upbeat and relentless. “The Art of Peer Pressure” brilliantly infuses jazz lounge and hip-hop then turns into slowed down track exploring Kendrick and his homies “just ridding”. Drake is featured on “Poetic Justice” which features Janet Jackson’s “Anytime, Anyplace”. It’s the perfect mash up of both Drake and Kendrick’s style.
The album’s namesake songs “good kid” and “m.A.A.d city” are nothing alike. The former is a slow jam about the events of Kendrick in is younger years while “m.A.A.d city”, featuring MC Eiht focuses on the violence of his childhood and the environment he grew up in. It features a jarring piano in sharp contrast from the track before it and then turns into a old school type of hip hop song once MC Eiht comes in halfway through. These two songs sum up what the theme of the album is, not only in the lyrics but the way they are delivered and the beats behind them.
The biggest feature on the album obviously comes from Dr. Dre on “Compton” and “The Recipe”. Because of Dre, the songs have that 90s hip-hop flair. “Compton” stands out with the harmonic chorus. “The Recipe” is more in Kendrick’s style but has more edge with Dre’s deep flow against the beat. Bonus track “Now or Never” features R&B queen Mary J. Blige. Between MJB and the piano and percussion, the song has a 70′s R&B vibe that ends up fitting well but makes sense why it isn’t on the standard track list.
The album is set to do well on the charts. According to Hits Daily Double, good kid, m.A.A.d is projected to sell 220K in the first week.