If you’re familiar with Kendrick Lamar’s catalog (I mean really familiar), Section.80 in itself is a huge digression from his earlier work (see my review here). From his majestic production to finely tuned concepts, the opus was a benchmark in the career of the young Compton MC. Fast forward a year later and we’re on the brink of getting the scope into his major label debut. The apprehension was bountiful, a room full of curious writers, DJs, tastemakers and the like huddled in a secluded space within Chung King Studios curious of what they were about to hear. The man of the hour finally introduced his project over rowdy whispers. While we didn’t hear it in its entirety (which the fan in me was glad), we heard a good chunk considering the singles which were already released. The rainy weather posed no threat to the gathering, if anything it cut down the overload of RSVPs. A rumored several hundred emails later…bless the door man’s heart.
The bass heavy project kept the elements that one can expect in a Kendrick Lamar project; variety, great production (Hit-Boy and Just Blaze were credited on respective tracks), personal narrative and of course, it’s relatable. The first song that was played quickly became a favorite. “I can feel your energy from two planets away…” Kendrick halfway croons over the smooth backdrop. I think the title of the song is “Don’t Kill My Vibe.”
The next song was a bass laden tune produced by Hit-Boy. No really–the bass was crazy. I could feel the music pulsating in my bones. This was something I could hear ScHoolboy Q on, but Kendrick made the song his own. “Martin had a dream, Kendrick had a dream,” a bold declaration from Lamar as he opens the song. This track was about more than a dream, but feeling of ecstasy that comes with it. As he describes in the song, being in the “matrix.”
Love and vulnerability is not the least bit taboo on good kid M.A.A.D city. “I’ll never complain, I just want you to want me,” he spits over the uptempo beat. Kendrick switches up his flow here the way a painter might quicken his strokes on a canvas. It’s a feel good song encumbered with heavy piano keys.
Just Blaze blesses the production on the next cut, which features Dr. Dre and serves as an ode to Lamar’s Californian roots. “Ain’t no city quite like mine,” he raps on the synthy track.
Last but certainly not least, Kendrick serves poetic justice with some help from Drake. This one will easily become a favorite amongst the ladies. The song features a Janet Jacket sample from “Anytime, Anyplace.” It’s been rumored that we can expect a video for this as well.
good kid, M.A.A.D city drops October 22nd.