1. Kendrick Could Be The Most Gifted Of Hip-Hop’s New School
There are several moments on good kid, m.A.A.d city in which Kendrick Lamar sounds like he’s rapping for himself. And that’s the beauty of the bantam MC. He doesn’t sound like he’s constructing hits. His music is strikingly organic. So what about the competition? In terms of stardom (two platinum albums will do that for you), Drake is leading the way for hip-hop’s next wave. But Kendrick represents the raising of the artistic bar beyond formulas and SoundScan accolades. Yes, YMCMB’s crooning/rapping Canadian is featured on the slow jam-inspired good kid track “Poetic Justice.” But even as the smoldering Janet Jackson sampled cut aims for the ladies, Lamar does so on his own terms (“Nigga don’t approach her with that Atari, nigga that ain’t good game, sorry…”).
Indeed, Kendrick Lamar stands out amongst his 80’s babies peers by his sheer diversity. Could a thoroughly self-aware Drake pull off the desperate, out-of-character theatrics of “Collect Calls?” Could ASAP Rocky approach the accomplished story-telling prowess of “Black Boy Fly?” J. Cole? Yep, he has all-around-game. But could Jigga’s protégé come off as, well, so weirdly ethereal as “Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter?” And could Big Sean raise the lyrical stakes of “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe?”
As of right now, Lamar has the edge. Will good kid, m.A.A.d city become a double platinum behemoth? Who knows? But check out these illuminating words from the title track on which he dissects his life growing up in Compton with heartfelt results. “But what am I supposed to do when the topic is red or blue and you understand that I ain’t, but know that I’m accustomed to…No better picture to paint than walking from Bible study…”