“Section.80” impressed critics and fans alike, shooting Compton native Kendrick Lamar into the spotlight. The independent album showcased Lamar’s lyrical complexity, as well as his honest storytelling. Expectations for his major label release were high and anticipation steadily rose, as the album drop got closer.
Kendrick Lamar released his major label debut album, entitled “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” Monday.
The newly released album is an intricately detailed narrative through Lamar’s life as he experiences growing up in Compton, Calif. It begins when Lamar was a teenager and slowly moves to the present. He discusses everything in an honest way providing an illuminating glimpse into who he is and how his life experiences have affected him.
The chronological tale through Lamar’s life makes the transitions between songs flawless. The album is so cohesive it feels wrong to dissect the entire work for the sake of discussion. The consistent sound of the album makes it interconnected, which is a bit surprising considering the diversity of the contributing producers.
The album begins with a teenage Lamar meeting a girl at a party in “Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter.” He then borrows his family van to go meet up with her again. A voicemail from his mom trying to get the van back plays at the end of the track. These recur throughout the album and they give it an even more realistic and honest feel.
The Hit-Boy produced track “Backseat Freestyle” at first appears out of character for Lamar as he brags about money, power, and guns. The song is from the perspective of a younger Lamar when he was being heavily influenced by the violent culture in which he grew up and the song is a reflection on who he was then.
“The Art of Peer Pressure” is exactly what the title says, as Lamar explores the negative and uncharacteristic things he does when his friends are around. “Smoking on the finest dope / drank until I can’t no mo’ / really I’m a sober soul / but I’m with the homies right now.” Lamar and friends eventually rob a house and escape a cop chase.