By Zach Roubos, Contributor
The cover of Kendrick Lamar’s second album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City has the subtitle “A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar.” Curious, until one listens to the aforementioned project from front to back, and then it all becomes clear.
With Good Kid…, Lamar has weaved a seamless narrative that takes you into his life as a 17-year-old trying to navigate life in Compton and find his salvation. The songs are interspersed with interludes that consist of conversations with his friends and somewhat humorous voicemails from his parents that serve to drive the narrative forward.
While the production style is varied, none of his beat choices feel out of place, and in fact, most compliment his subject matter perfectly, which serves to reinforce the idea that this is more than a mere album.
On “Backseat Freestyle,” Lamar spits: “All my life I want money and power, respect my mind or die from lead shower,” and continues to drop uncharacteristically ignorant lyrics over a Hit-Boy produced banger, while presumably riding in the backseat with his friends. This leads perfectly into “The Art of Peer Pressure,” which finds Lamar on a solemn soundscape lamenting about things he usually would not do, but does because, he’s “with the homies.”
To call this album cohesive is an extreme understatement. It closes with the Dr. Dre assisted anthem “Compton,” where Lamar has found his salvation. Whether it was through religion, success as an artist, or perhaps both, we’re better off for having taken the journey with him.