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Classic: Kendrick Lamar “good kid, m.A.A.d city” Album Review x “Sing About Me”Posted by Nathan S. on 10/19/12 | Filed under Top Stories, Kendrick Lamar, Album Reviews
I've been listening to this album for the last 24 hours straight on an obsessive, all-nighter, non-stop level, and while only time will tell if it becomes a "classic", at the very least this shit is extraordinarily dope. I could spend all day rap nerding out and talking about this album, but I'm going to try to contain things to one post. First, here's an excerpt of my review for the mothership (you can read the whole thing here):
"Kendrick Lamar has risen from some Compton kid named K-Dot to Dr. Dre’s protégé and hip-hop’s most acclaimed voice because his music transcends any label. He’s not just a voice of the people, he’s the voice the people wish they could speak in. On his last two independent albums, "Overly Dedicated" and "#Section80", he showed an ability to dive into abstraction without ever losing his grip on reality, to shift his flow and styles in ways that showcased a complete disregard for sounding “cool.” So there was some justified anxiety around his major label release; it wasn’t a question of if Interscope would influence the album, it was a matter of how much. Frankly, I had nightmares involving a Chris Brown hook and a Stargate beat.
Thankfully, the answer appears to be very little. Instead, the only noticeable label influences on "GKMC" seem to be a higher production budget and the ability to clear a Janet Jackson sample. Speaking of which, "Poetic Justice" has to be considered the album’s most “radio friendly” offering, if only because of Drake’s presence and the aforementioned smoother-than-smooth sample. It’s a fine track, and certainly doesn’t feel forced, but it’s also one of the album’s weakest because Kendrick sounds the most confined. By contrast, Drank finds Kendrick playing with the genre, taking the binge drinking-friendly environment that’s currently dominating the charts and twisting the formula almost beyond recognition, a method he uses again on "Backseat Freestyle". While nearly every rapper alive would have bent over backwards to make that Hit-Boy beat the 2012 version of "A Milli", Kendrick takes lyrics that aren’t particularly far from the swaggering norm and delivers them in a voice that flips from verse to verse nearly schizophrenically."
Read the full review...
That's a lot to dig into right there, but while I know it may be too much, I can't help myself, I need to spend a couple paragraphs getting stan-ish about "Sing About Me / Dying of Thirst". Holy sweet baby jesus, I can't remember the last time a track hit me this hard. First, let's take a listen, then I'll go outline style breaking it down:
1) Who divides one twelve minute track into two songs on a major label album? Craziness.
2) Spoiler alert, but it actually took me a few listens to catch the concept: "Oh shit, the first and second verses are other people pleading with Kendrick to tell their story on his album." I can't think of another rapper who just dives into another viewpoint, even female viewpoints, so completely and without any warning.
3) The way he cuts off the first verse with gunshots mid-bar (2:02)? I don't know if I've ever heard that before.
4) The way he lets the vocals slowly fade away on the second verse right after Kendrick/the girl says, "I'll never fade away!," (3:49) until only the instrumental is audible for the last two bars? I've definitely never heard that before.
Holy fuck, when's the last time I heard a track like that, a track that made me reconsider what a hip-hop song could be? Man, maybe Lupe's "Put You on Game", but structurally this is even more groundbreaking. I don't want to get sucked into the comparison vortex though, so let's just all agree "Sing About Me" is, at the very least, in discussion for song of the year.
Feel free to disagree, break down "Sing About Me" even further, bring up your own favorite songs on "GKMC", whatever. On the real, I'm just happy to be talking about hip-hop this passionately again. Let's do this damn thing RefinedHype Nation.
See Also: Let’s Be Honest, You Want to Hear This Kendrick ft. Drake “Poetic Justice” (Listen)