The fifth song, “Money Trees,” is a sort of recap of the previous events to unfold on the album, as Lamar discusses everything from rapping in the backseats of cars to hooking up with Sherane. The track features Top Dawg Entertainment label mate Jay Rock, who delivers an incredible verse about hustling to get rich.
The second half of the album, starting with “good kid,” moves toward a more reflective theme as Lamar examines the street and gang cultures’ effect on him. This is the period where he developed some maturity and started looking at things through a new lens.
“m.A.A.d city” features an incredible beat by Sounwave and Terrace Martin, which starts with a bass-heavy club beat before transitioning into the classic west coast sound. MC Eiht guests on the track and fits the sound perfectly. As Lamar raps, "m.A.A.d" is revealed as an acronym for “My Angel’s on Angel Dust.” It is the metaphor for the whole album, as Lamar questions if a good kid can spread a positive message to the mad city or if the mad city will eventually corrupt him too.
On “Sing about Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” Lamar shows off his maturity in a deeply reflective and thought provoking song. He discusses how he was able to focus on rapping — and avoiding the gangs and violence around him — to eventually spread a positive message.
On “Real,” Lamar’s mother gives a nice summation of Lamar’s goal with the album. “Tell your story to these black and brown kids in Compton,” she said. “Let them know you were just like them, but you still rose from that dark place of violence, becoming a positive person. But when you do make it, give back, with your words of encouragement, and that’s the best way to give back to your city.”
Lamar has composed an incredibly insightful story into his life in “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” and fans of all genres can appreciate the remarkable craft this album showcases. Listening to this album is a short journey through his life in an honest and straightforward way that is tremendously rewarding.
Also out this week:
Bat For Lashes — “The Haunted Man”
Bat for Lashes is the stage name for British singer-songwriter Natasha Khan. She is releasing her third studio album, “The Haunted Man,” this week. Her sound has been compared to the likes of Fiona Apple, Lykke Li and Bjork. Lead single “Laura” begins as a slow piano balla, which slowly builds and falls, showcasing Khan’s sweet voice.
Gary Clark Jr. — “Blak and Blu”
Gary Clark Jr. started playing guitar at age 12, then performed live shows around Austin, Texas, and soon found himself being mentored by a wide array of prominent musicians. He steadily rose through the Austin music scene after receiving praise for his blues guitar skills and fervent stage performances. The mayor of Austin even declared May 3, 2001, "Gary Clark Jr. Day," when Clark was only 18. He is releasing his new album “Blak and Blu” this week.