top of page

good kid, m.A.A.d city

by Kendrick Lamar

Released October 22, 2012 via TDE / Aftermath / Interscope

Reviewed October 26, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst (78%), m.A.A.d city (59%), Money Trees (52%)

At a crossroads of gangsta rap, conscious hip-hop, and pop rap lies Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city. Little can be said that hasn’t for one of hip-hop’s greatest and most recognizable releases ever. With just his second album, K.Dot went from being on the cusp of a breakout to a bonafide star and a generational talent. It’s the album that truly introduced King Kendrick to the masses and marked him as the leader of 2010s hip-hop. It had the radio hits that made their way to everyone’s ears with “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Poetic Justice” (with the help of Drake), and “Swimming Pools (Drank).” But, by no means were these select tracks merely for radio play, nor were they of any less artistic merit than the album as whole. They are catchy and relatively easy to digest, but they certainly held more weight within the context of the larger narrative of good kid, m.A.A.d city. For the typical listener (especially white audiences), GKMC is a vastly different coming of age story than those that typically dominate the mainstream. An incredible lyricist and storyteller, Lamar tells the semi-autobiographical narrative of a teenager growing up in Compton and navigating that already difficult transition within one of the roughest cities in America. Peer pressure, limited economic opportunities, religion and spirituality, gang violence, racial discrimination and police brutality (and more) find themselves at play as they extend to both internal and external conflicts within Kendrick Lamar’s story. Illustrating these complex issues with a tempered delivery and impeccable skill, Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city provides an in-depth, nuanced, and simply brilliant snapshot of the inner-city struggle. It was able to reach the masses with its catchy hooks, varied and often atmospheric production, and overall mastery—but never sacrifices an ounce of artistic integrity or even considers watering down its messaging. – Dominick (9.5/10)

Kendrick Lamar's ascent into orbit took off with the release of good kid, m.A.A.d city. Section 80. furthered the potential sensed on the Overly Dedicated project, however it refrained from anything in the vicinity of "Swimming Pools," "Poetic Justice" or "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe," radio mega hits, star status. The buzz surrounding Kendrick around this time was nothing short of other-worldly, and in retrospect, all valid. Story-telling is an art—it's what pieces our existence, and species, together. Perspective gives our thoughts nuance. A game of angles, intuition sees what the senses can't. Kendrick Lamar's story telling sense tingles at the sight of a studio. Anyone who ascends to the top will realize that the spot is open to pretty much anybody; anyone can get it, the difficulties arise in keeping it. Respect from your audience is one thing, respect from your peers and people you look up to is another. Kendrick Lamar, along with the TDE family, set foot on hallowed ground. – Peter (9.5/10)

Jacques: 10/10 | Pax: 9.8/10 | DeVán: 9.5/10 | Dominick: 9.5/10 | Peter: 9.5/10

Jared: 9.5/10 | Cam: 9/10 | Alan: 8.7/10 | Ben (Synth): 8/10

Community Reviews:

This album is the reason why I started listening predominantly to albums in order instead of playlists in shuffle. The storytelling is so clear, it feels like a movie to everyone. The production is incredible, but the best part of this entire project are the lyrics. It’s rare for an album to have so many songs that are so catchy, you’ll still remember the lyrics perfectly. It’s also exceptionally well put together, almost flawlessly, despite almost every track being made by different producers. Timeless project. – @merraj._ (10/10) One of GKMC’s many strengths is how successfully Kendrick is able to build such visceral worlds for these songs to exist in. There is a mix of storytelling mastery to concentrate on and fun mixing/production choices to get lost in that makes it such an excellent record to return to again and again.

There is an element of built-in nostalgia based off of the perspective that Kendrick is writing from and about that engaged us a decade ago and will not feel at all dated decades from now.

This is one of hip-hop’s greatest track-lists. – anonymous community member (9.8/10)


bottom of page