It was obvious from long before this album that Kendrick Lamar would become one of the greatest rappers of all time, with two of his albums having a user score of above 90.
All 12 of the tracks in this album tell stories of Kendrick Lamar’s life in Compton, from getting introduced to gang-banging to drinking alcohol to fit in. So basically that means it’s 12 small stories put into one big story. This is what us music lovers call a concept album.
1. Sherane: This is a song about how Kendrick Lamar met the girl in the story, Sherane, and his desires to have a sexual relationship with him. It also has one of the many phone skits in this album, with Kendrick’s mother wondering what’s taking Kendrick so long to get her the van back, and his father wanting his dominoes back. At the ending of the storyline of the song, Kendrick gets jumped.
2. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe: This song is probably the least important to the storyline of this album, but it takes place the morning of the day Kendrick gets jumped.
3. Backseat Freestyle: This song is told in the perspective of his 16-year-old self in the back of his friend’s Toyota. This song symbolizes him having fun with his friends in said Toyota.
4. The Art Of Peer Pressure: Kendrick and K.Dot are basically a Compton version of Jekyll and Hyde. Kendrick is the good kid, and K.Dot is the gangster who lives the thug life. This song is based on Kendrick’s experiences with drugs and violence.
5. Money Trees: While Kendrick is driving the van that he borrowed from his mother to go see Sherane, he imagines himself being rich and famous. Well, in today’s world, he’s rich and famous right now.
6. Poetic Justice: Kendrick gets closer and closer to Sherane’s house and can’t stop thinking about their relationship. He enjoys himself in this song, and that’s where we catch up to the end of the first track with him getting jumped.
7. good kid: This song symbolizes what Kendrick thinks about after getting jumped. He realizes that he isn’t a gang-banger, he’s a “good kid” in a “mad city.”
8. m.A.A.d city: This continues the points made in “good kid” where Kendrick struggles to be a “good kid” in a “mad city.”
9. Swimming Pools (Drank): This song is the climax of the story of this album. Kendrick and his friends decide to get drunk to forget that Kendrick got jumped, but in the end, having the judgement of drunk people, they retaliate from Kendrick’s jumping, and then someone gets shot during the retaliation.
10. Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst: This song uses the perspectives of 3 people: Kendrick’s friend’s brother, who was shot in an altercation; Sherane, who gets lost in the wild environment that is Compton; and Kendrick, who wants to always remember the person who was shot. Kendrick and his friends are trying to seek God’s forgiveness for their sins, and poet Maya Angelou comes to them and helps them become right in the eyes of God and themselves.
11. Real: Kendrick Lamar removes his gangster persona he called “K.Dot” to become “real.” He gets called by his mother to tell him that TDE wants to sign him and that he’s got a future in music. This song is the end of the chronological story.
12. Compton: This song is the end credits song. It serves as the conclusion of the story, symbolizing the birth of Kendrick Lamar and him looking back at all the things that happened to him in Compton. He is proud of what it turned him into despite the struggles he’s been through.
Now, here is the chronological story in that order:
Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe
The Art Of Peer Pressure
Swimming Pools (Drank)
Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst
Favorite: Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst
Least Favorite: N/A