Good Kid, m.A.A.d City might be a wide-ranging, far-reaching success, but one suspects it won’t be his best record.
Lamar has bypassed the norm by producing an album that’s damn near unimpeachable.
It is a varied and dense listening experience that feels more like an emotional outburst than an assured statement of purpose.
Lamar's inimitable artistry and self-assurance have been on display for a while now, but good kid, m.A.A.d. city is the uncompromising documentation of that treacherous journey of self-discovery.
Overall, good kid, m.A.A.d city is an invigorating LP. Every record is both complexly arranged and sonically fitting, foregrounding Kendrick’s vivid lyricism and amazing control of cadence. There’s not a single loophole.
He remains magnanimous but brash, never conceding to collaborators or the beat, rapping hard - channelling multiple voices - as if hip-hop depended on it.
The miracle of this album is how it ties straightforward rap thrills-- dazzling lyrical virtuosity, slick quotables, pulverizing beats, star turns from guest rappers-- directly to its narrative.
Naysayers who thought that Lamar's shift from independent to major label would risk the grit found on Overly Dedicated and Section.80 have been proven wrong.
His major-label debut contains even more deep hooks, without diminishing Lamar’s knack for riding humming beats with his surreal interior narratives.
With Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City, Compton's flag bearer unveils a group of songs equally potent individually and collectively, meeting the mainstream and rabid fans in the middle, improbably touching that thinnest slice between mass appeal and mass respect.
Providing the sort of semi-autobiographical character arc, good kid would be enough for some, but it’s the lush environs surrounding this “short film” that makes good kid not only a compelling story, but also musically interesting.
It is rare accomplishment to have such an array of different producers on one project to sound this cohesive.
Good Kid is an exercise in tasteful restraint, with Lamar employing his boundless budget in creative ways.
It's a completely exhausting listen, one that might prove easier to admire than enjoy. But at the very least, it's never anything less than fascinating.
good kid, m.A.A.d city is a cocksure record, but that confidence isn’t misplaced.
There are dramatic flourishes, rising crescendos and introspective lulls. In short, it is far more than your typical rap album.
Lamar is an unlikely star: a storyteller, not a braggart or punch-line rapper, setting spiritual yearnings and moral dilemmas against a backdrop of gang violence and police brutality.
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City has a widescreen narrative and scope. The dense, often lengthy tracks are interspersed with spurts of dialogue from friends and family, creating an air of intimacy reinforced by the hushed, watery beats.
From its ambitious narrative arc to its fine linguistic detail, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is a honed and deliberate major label debut.
Throughout these 12 songs (often bi- or tripartite), Lamar reshapes and improves upon enough modern rap tropes to at least partially justify the “unique” and “forward-thinking” mantles that have been placed upon him.
|# 11 -||A.V. Club|
|# 4 -||AllMusic|
|# 1 -||BBC|
|# 7 -||Beats Per Minute|
|# 14 -||Clash|
|# 5 -||Cokemachineglow|
|# 3 -||Consequence of Sound|
|# 8 -||Entertainment Weekly|
|# 1 -||Exclaim!|
|# 1 -||FACT Magazine|
|# 4 -||FILTER|
|# 3 -||Gorilla vs. Bear|
|# 8 -||Idolator|
|# 44 -||NME|
|# 1 -||No Ripcord|
|# 3 -||Obscure Sound|
|# 18 -||Paste|
|# 2 -||Pazz & Jop|
|# 1 -||Pitchfork|
|# 9 -||PopMatters|
|# 3 -||Pretty Much Amazing|
|# 6 -||Rolling Stone|
|# 2 -||SPIN|
|# 4 -||Spinner|
|# 3 -||Stereogum|
|# 2 -||The 405|
|# 5 -||The Guardian|
|# 46 -||The Quietus|
|# 23 -||The Wire|
|# 2 -||TIME|
|# 14 -||Time Out London|
|# 20 -||Tiny Mix Tapes|
|# 6 -||Urban Outfitters|
|# 5 -||Billboard (2010-2014)|
|# 16 -||Drowned in Sound|
|# 6 -||FACT Magazine (2010-2014)|
|# 2 -||Greg Kot (Chicago Tribune)|
|# 1 -||Insound|
|# 1 -||Nitsuh Abebe (New York Magazine)|
|# 8 -||NME (2010-2014)|
|# 485 -||NME Top 500 of All Time|
|# 2 -||Pitchfork (2010-2014)|
|# 3 -||Pitchfork Readers|
|# 3 -||PopMatters (Hip Hop)|
|# 86 -||Rolling Stone (Debut Albums)|
|# 45 -||SPIN (1985-2014)|
|# 2 -||The Needle Drop|